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Google rejects EU antitrust claim, refuses to change search results

[JURIST] Google filed a response Thursday to the European Commission (EC) [official website], rejecting EU antitrust charges that Google structures its search results to favor its own services over those of rivals. The EU's investigation [press release] of Google over various antitrust violations has been ongoing since 2010. The EU initiated antitrust proceedings [JURIST report] against Google in April with a filing of its Statement of Objections, specifically alleging that Google "systematically positions and prominently displays its comparison shopping service in its general search results pages," which has a negative impact on consumers. In a blog post [official blog], Google's general counsel Kent Walker stated Thursday that the EU's claims are unfounded and maintained that Google's current method of showing search results is the most relevant and beneficial for consumers. Google also rejected [NYT report] the EU's proposal that it should show ads ranked by other companies within its own advertising space. If the EC finds that Google violated the EU's antitrust policies, Google could face billions in fines.

Google has faced legal action both in the US and internationally. Privacy software company Disconnect [official website] filed antitrust charges [JURIST report] against Google with the EC in June. In January a representative for Google signed an agreement [JURIST report] to rewrite the company's current privacy policy in response to pressure from the UK Information Commissioner's Office [official website]. Also in January Google was among four tech companies that reached a $415 million settlement [JURIST report] in a class action lawsuit claiming the companies unlawfully agreed to reduce employee compensation and mobility. A Hong Kong court ruled [JURIST report] last August that Chinese businessman Dr. Albert Yeung Sau Shing may continue his defamation suit against Google over the autocomplete function of the company's search engine, which suggests links connecting Yeung to organized crime groups in China. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [official website] ruled [JURIST report] in May 2014 that programming interfaces in Oracle's Java technology can be protected under US copyright law, allowing Oracle to pursue its legal case against Google.

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