Google asks court to throw out US advertising case

FILE PHOTO: Google logo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Alphabet Inc's Google on Friday asked a federal court in Virginia to reject a U.S. government lawsuit accusing the advertising and search giant of anticompetitive practices in the online advertising marketplace.

The Justice Department, which filed the advertising lawsuit in January 2023, accused the company of abusing its dominance of the digital advertising business and argued that it should be forced to sell its ad manager suite.

Google’s online advertising network, which includes ad manager, brought in 12% of the company’s revenue in 2021 and also plays a vital role in the search engine and cloud company's overall sales.

Google argued on Friday that the DOJ's case went "beyond the boundaries of antitrust law," saying it does not regulate the internet company's conduct at issue.

The company added that the government's case was "doomed" because it attacked business acts that "are lawful choices about whom to do business with and product improvements that benefited Google’s customers."

The Justice Department declined to comment.

The government's original 2023 complaint said "Google has used anticompetitive, exclusionary, and unlawful means to eliminate or severely diminish any threat to its dominance over digital advertising technologies."

Google's advertising business is responsible for about three quarters of its revenue.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Virginia federal court has scheduled trial in the Justice Department's case for September. The judge has the power to narrow the scope of the lawsuit prior to trial or knock the case completely. Both sides can seek summary judgment, a fact-based review on the merits of a case.

Google separately faces a trial in March 2025 in Texas federal court in a lawsuit Texas and other states lodged that accuses it of abusing its digital ads dominance.

(Reporting by Chris Sanders and Mike Scarcella; Editing by Leslie Adler and Aurora Ellis)