2011/06/28

French search engine seeks $425 mn in damages from Google

PARIS, June 28, 2011 (AFP) - French company 1plusV said Tuesday it had filed a lawsuit against US search engine giant Google seeking 295 million euros ($425 million) for stifling its own search engines.

Complaints by 1plusV, which runs the specialist website eJustice.fr, and others last year prompted the European Union to open an anti-trust probe against Google in November.

The lawsuit filed at the Paris commercial court "is a logical next step" following the complaint to the EU competition authorities, 1plusV President and founder Bruno Guillard said in a statement.

1plusV accused Google of "choking" the development of its rivals by "unfair competition in the listing of Internet sites" in its web search results, and forcing the use of Google search technology to participate in its online advertising market.

1plusV said 30 of its web search engines had been delisted by Google between 2007 and 2010, which resulted in considerable damage to the company.

"If competition had been able to function normally, the 30 search engines would generate today more than 30 million euros in sales per year" the company said.

Google's search and advertisement practices are also being examined by US competition authorities in addition to the EU probe.