The Times reports that price comparison websites across Europe are gearing up to take follow-on damages actions against Google. This is in light of the expectation that the EU, following a seven-year investigation, will issue a decision in the cases it has been investigating, and potentially a considerable fine on the multinational.
The newspaper quoted Tim Cowen, Partner at Preiskel & Co, in his role as legal counsel to ICOMP, explaining the following: “The people who will benefit from the remedy will be able to take the Commission’s decision and use it in a national court for the basis of a damages claim.”
The investigations were started many years ago, following a series of complaints to EU and American regulators, alleging Google has abused a dominant position in online search to distort market results in favour of its own shopping comparison service, and that it has imposed illegal exclusivity clauses on advertisers and equipment makers. If the EU finds that Google has infringed the antitrust rules, it can impose fines, and, possibly more importantly Google may be ordered to implement a remedy which would stop it favouring its own sites. The Russian competition authority reached a settlement with Google recently which seeks to put in place a type of non-discrimination remedy, and that may form the basis of the Commission’s approach.
The Commission ruling is expected to be issued within the next few weeks.
 See The Times, “Google faces up to 30 lawsuits over EU ruling”, Monday June 19 2017.