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Google argues that a legal technicality means antitrust regulators can’t fine it $6.6B

Employees take their lunch break in the sun at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California March 3, 2008. REUTERS/Erin Siegal (UNITED STATES) - RTR1XUQ7

With Google potentially facing a fine of up to $6.6B after the European Commission charged the company of abusing its dominant position in search, its lawyers have now filed a 130-page rebuttal. In it, the company attempts to use a legal technicality to argue that it cannot be fined for favouring its own products in search results … 

Reuters reports that Google is arguing that regulators were only entitled to act in cases where there is a trading relationship between a company and its customers. As Google’s search service is free, its users cannot, it suggests, be considered customers.

The statement of objections fails to take proper account of the fact that search is provided for free. A finding of abuse of dominance requires a ‘trading relationship’ as confirmed by consistent case law. No trading relationship exists between Google and its users.

European Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso declined to comment to Reuters.

Google’s multiple legal battles in Europe look set to continue to run for some time yet …

Photo: Reuters/Erin Siegal

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