GRIP – Google Redress & Integrity Platform
NEW PLATFORM FOR DAMAGES ACTIONS AGAINST GOOGLE
Hausfeld and Avisa create platform to seek redress on behalf of those affected by Google’s anti-competitive behaviour in Europe
Specialist competition law firm Hausfeld & Co LLP (“Hausfeld”), and public affairs consultancy Avisa Partners (“Avisa”) today launch GRIP, a new platform to offer victims of Google’s anti-competitive business practices in Europe a mechanism to evaluate their potential claims.
GRIP’s two main goals are to seek redress for those who have suffered harm, and to ensure search neutrality.
GRIP will deal with all Google services, including Search, Android, YouTube, Shopping, Maps, etc.
GRIP supports the European Commission’s (“EC” or “Commission”) initiative to promote private enforcement actions across the continent and expand the legal rules facilitating redress for individuals and companies across all EU Member States.
GRIP builds on the European Commission’s Statement of Objections (“SO”) of April 15, 2015 which outlines the Commission's position in assessing the viability of their claims against Google and, where merits can be established, obtaining redress for the harm suffered by representing them in anticipated damage actions.
GRIP’s platform will also provide information on representation and legal services in relation to both the EC and other competition watchdogs and regulators. This initiative comes ahead of the EC’s final decision on Google. A number of claims have already been brought in different jurisdictions across Europe and further litigation is expected in the years to come.
Hausfeld’s Chairman, Michael Hausfeld, says:
“The European Commission’s investigation seeks to determine whether Google artificially diverted traffic from rival online services, hindering their ability to compete in the market. Google may have achieved unfair market advantage, in breach of EU antitrust rules. Intervention of private parties in the Commission proceedings could materially benefit the investigation through actual experiences. In light of the global presence of Google, and the participation of U.S. companies as complainants, any Commission decision would have international implications.”
Laurent Geelhand, Managing Partner at Hausfeld Brussels adds:
“Rival online services were denied a fair display in search results because of Google’s practices. Google was also able to generate additional profit, often at the consumers’ expense. Any person or entity that engaged in e-commerce in the EU may have a civil claim and through GRIP.”
Avisa Partners founder Jacques Lafitte says:
“It has been five years between the first complaint against Google and the EC’s statement of objections, which is about three times longer than the groundbreaking Microsoft case. Google’s President, lawyers and publicists have worked well to create this delay. But Google has not been able to stop the inevitable: it finally faces justice.”
Hausfeld has a history of representing companies, charities, small businesses, consumers and other vulnerable groups affected by anti-competitive behaviour in the EU. In particular, Hausfeld represents UK vertical search technology company Foundem, the original complainant in the EC’s Google investigation, in its damages action in the UK High Court. Since 2009, Foundem has spearheaded the
campaign to bring Google’s anti-competitive search manipulation practices to light and subject them to public and regulatory scrutiny.
Avisa Partners has followed the EC investigation since 2009. It is in particular assisting 1plusV, a French Internet search firm, one of the companies whose complaint prompted the EC’s investigation into Google. Avisa Partners believes that Google’s practices prevented 1plusV from innovating and improving its services, and stifled its ability to generate business and advertising.
To learn more about GRIP, please visit http://www.grip.eu or connect with GRIP via Twitter at @Grip_eu or
Linkedin at GRIP Google Redress & Integrity Platform.
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