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Google's Latest Nuisance in Europe: A Group Built to Hammer It With Lawsuits

Lawyers for the search giant in Brussels will have a very busy year.


On top of the massive suit from competition regulators, Google now has yet another burden in Europe: A new group devoted solely to pummeling the company with civil lawsuits.

On Tuesday, two European companies — Hausfeld, a law firm, and Avisa Partners, a public affairs consultancy — paired to launch an online platform for businesses and individuals to pursue legal action against the search giant. It is designed to help clients navigate the pending European Union antitrust cases against Google and cash in on them. Last year, the EU passed a law clearing the path for companies to seek damages against businesses found in violation of antitrust law.

The new group’s name says it all: GRIP, or Google Redress and Integrity Platform. The New York Times first reported on the platform’s launch.

“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,” Jacques Lafitte, founder of Avisa Partners, said in a statement. “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.”

If you’re keeping track at home, Google is currently facing official antitrust charges in the EU around its comparative shopping service and an investigation into competitive abuse with Android.

The competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, has said she is open to pursuing other Google services for potential cases. Getty Images recently leaped in as a complainant, suggesting photos could be next; several companies are lobbying the EU to go after Google’s ad technology business.

Further east, Google may contend next month with a formal antitrust suit from the competition authorities in India.

Last week, Google stood defiant against the EU shopping charges, with General Counsel Kent Walker writing that they were “wrong as a matter of fact, law and economics.”

On the law pillar, it has some veteran foes. The two shops behind GRIP are well versed in Europe’s lengthy regulatory battle with Google. Hausfeld has represented Foundem, a British e-commerce firm and one of the first to bring complaints against Google to the EU. Avisa has worked with another early complainant, French search firm 1PlusV, which brought an antitrust suit against Google in 2011 for a reported $423 million.

GRIP said it will deal with all of Google’s services, including search, YouTube, maps and Android.

We reached out to Google for comment and will update if we hear back.

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