Keller Postman represents the States of Texas, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, and South Carolina in their enforcement action against Google—State of Texas et al. v. Google, LLC.
The States bring claims under federal and state antitrust laws, alleging that Google monopolized or attempted to monopolize various advertising technology markets, as well as claims under state deceptive practices laws, alleging that Google made material misrepresentations and omissions related to its advertising technology services.
Google has extended its reach from search advertising to dominate the online advertising landscape for image-based ads on the web, called “display ads.” The market for display ads resembles the most complicated financial markets—publishers and advertisers trade display inventory through brokers and on electronic exchanges at lightning speed.
Nearly all of today’s online publishers, large or small, depend on Google as the middleman to sell their online display ad space in “ad exchanges,” which are the centralized electronic trading venues where display ads are bought and sold. Conversely, nearly every consumer goods company, e-commerce entity, and small business now depends on Google as their respective middleman for purchasing display ads from exchanges to market their goods and services to consumers.
In addition to representing both the buyers and the sellers of online display advertising, Google also operates the largest exchange, AdX. In this electronically traded market, Google is pitcher, batter, and umpire, all at the same time.
Google, however, did not accrue its monopoly power through excellence in the marketplace or innovations in its services alone. To cement its dominance across online display markets, Google has repeatedly and brazenly violated antitrust and consumer protection laws. Google uses its powerful position on every side of online display markets to unlawfully exclude competition.
As the States’ Complaint details, Google engaged in anticompetitive and deceptive practices, which demonstrably diminished publishers’ ability to monetize content, increased advertisers’ costs, and directly harmed consumers. The States seek to restore free and fair competition to these markets and to prevent Google from continuing its abuses.
The Complaint was originally filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (and subsequently centralized in the Southern District of New York with similar private cases).
Google’s antitrust troubles have been steadily mounting. Texas v. Google followed the first antitrust case against Google filed by the Department of Justice and eleven States in October 2020, taking aim at Google’s search dominance. That same month, the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee published a report scrutinizing Google after a 16-month long investigation into the state of competition in the digital economy.
International competition authorities are pursuing claims based on Google’s digital advertising misconduct in forums around the world. And in January 2023, the Department of Justice filed its second antitrust case against Google, which echoes the States’ allegations in Texas v. Google.
With the looming scrutiny that Google is facing, Texas v. Google strikes at the core of Big Tech’s monopoly power. Keller Postman is at the forefront of the nation’s largest antitrust battle. We are proud to partner with our State clients to curb Google’s flagrant antitrust behavior.
Meet the attorneys leading Texas v. Google.
Our mission is to aggressively pursue our clients’ claims against the entities that have harmed them by driving innovation in the practice of law, devising cutting-edge strategies that don’t follow the standard playbook, conceiving novel arguments, and pursuing unparalleled excellence in everything we do.
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We operate a dedicated, in-house technology, data, and analytics team. Our firm utilizes cutting-edge technology and processes to ensure successful litigation for thousands of claims at once.
Current status: With the States’ complaint paving the way, the private plaintiffs in this case, such as online publishers and advertisers, are now defending against Google’s motions to dismiss their complaints. In the meantime, the States are pushing forward with discovery.
June 5, 2023: The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation remanded the States’ case from the Southern District of New York back to the Eastern District of Texas. The Panel accepted our arguments that a recent law passed by Congress gave state antitrust enforcers the right to proceed separately from other cases in multidistrict litigation. The case will likely proceed more quickly on its own track in Texas rather than in multidistrict litigation in New York.
September 13, 2022: U.S. District Court Judge P. Kevin Castel denied Google’s motion to dismiss the core claims in the lawsuit, which allege that Google has monopolized or attempted to monopolize the display advertising markets through conduct such as manipulating auctions held on its ad exchange to ensure that its exchange always wins.
Google sought dismissal of the entire case, arguing that its conduct was lawful and that its success was merely a “product of innovation,” among other forced justifications. The Court largely rejected those arguments, allowing the States’ claims of monopolization, attempted monopolization, and tying to proceed to discovery.
We are proud of this result and eager and ready to push these claims forward on behalf of the States to discover and expose the full magnitude of Google’s wrongdoing and restore free competition to the multibillion-dollar ad display marketplace.
December 17, 2020: The Office of the Attorney General of the State of Texas retained Keller Postman LLC to represent the State in its antitrust litigation against Google, The State of Texas v. Google.
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