States unveil bipartisan antitrust probe of Google

Image credit: Wikipedia.

Image credit: Wikipedia.

Tech giant Google faces a sweeping bipartisan antitrust probe by state attorney generals, an investigation announced on Sept. 9 with an initial focus on online advertising.

“Google is expected to rake in more than $48 billion in U.S. digital ad revenue this year, far rivaling its peers, while capturing 75 percent of all spending on U.S. search ads, according to eMarketer,” The Washington Post reports.

The probe is supported by 50 U.S. states and territories, excluding Alabama and California, home of Silicon Valley.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Google “dominates all aspects of advertising on the Internet and searching on the Internet,” though he clarified that states are launching an investigation and not a lawsuit.

“The probe marks the latest regulatory headache for Google and the rest of Silicon Valley, which have faced growing criticism — and widening state and federal scrutiny — into whether they’ve grown too big and powerful, undermining rivals and resulting in costlier or worse service for web users,” The Post reports.

Federal regulators have decided against assessing major penalties against the company, including breaking it up, but “The European Union has issued the company $9 billion in competition-related fines over the past three years,” The Post reports.

Apple Supreme Court ruling opens doors for more legal action against tech giants

Photo Credit: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg as reported by the Washington Post.

Photo Credit: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg as reported by the Washington Post.

The Supreme Court ruled today that consumers could proceed with a large antitrust class action lawsuit against Apple.  

The New York Times reports that the justices decided “that the plaintiffs should be allowed to try to prove that the technology giant had used monopoly power to raise the prices of iPhone apps.”

The report explains, “Apple charges a 30 percent commission to software developers who sell their products through its App Store, bars developers from selling their apps elsewhere and plays a role in setting prices by requiring them to end in 99 cents.”

According to the Washington Post, “The 5-4 decision could spell serious repercussions for one of Apple’s most lucrative lines of business, and open the door for similar legal action targeting other tech giants in Silicon Valley.”

Eshoo, and Issues, Crash a U.S. House ‘Platitude Party’

Sara Cocoran, Founding Publisher of the California Courts Monitor

Sara Corcoran, Founding Publisher of the California Courts Monitor

A new first responder network is facing some tough questions and a lawsuit over open records, especially from one congresswoman from California, reports Courts Monitor Publisher Sara Corcoran in a new post at The Huffington Post.


See the story here: Eshoo, and Issues, Crash a U.S. House ‘Platitude Party’

Litigation Rush Brings Another Firm To L.A.

The delays and backups in California civil courts might be hitting families and small-claims litigants hard, but the big boys continue to find the state a welcoming venue. The latest is DOAR Litigation Consulting, a complex-case consulting firm which announced that it both acquired a Houston-based firm and opened an office in downtown L.A. 
From the company’s press release: “‘Lawsuits of major significance are being adjudicated in California and Texas,’ says Paul Neale, chief executive officer of DOAR. For instance, citing a 2013 Fulbright & Jaworski Litigation Trends Survey, Mr. Neale says 56% of U.S. technology companies faced at least one $20 million-plus lawsuit in 2012, a steep rise from only 18% in 2011. These firms are heavily concentrated in California’s Silicon Valley as well as in Austin, Texas. Across all industries, the number of companies facing at least one lawsuit where more than $20 million was at stake rose from 23% in 2011 to 31% in 2012, according to the Fulbright & Jaworski survey. The study also points out that the number of oil and gas companies reporting that 50 or more lawsuits have been filed against them over the past year has doubled to 27% since 2011.”
The company has other stats about California and Texas lawsuits, noting that area “… also popular venues for patent litigation filings. Nationally, the number of patent cases filed in 2012 soared 29% to a record 5,189 cases, according to PwC’s 2013 Patent Litigation Study, with Texas and California courts accounting for nearly 40% of them. The Texas Eastern Federal District Court in particular is perceived as “plaintiff-friendly,” and because patent holders are able to “shop” for favorable venues, despite efforts to deter the practice, it was the venue for 22% of all patent-related suits filed in the U.S. in 2012.”

For anyone waiting more than a year for fairly basic civil litigation to find a day in court, we can welcome DOAR to the waiting room. Find their press release here.