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Google v MyTriggers Dismissal

Google v MyTriggers Dismissal

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Published by Eric Goldman

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Published by: Eric Goldman on Sep 01, 2011
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FranklinCountyOhioClerkofCourtsoftheCommonPleas-2011Aug3110:54AM-09CV014836
OAOOO-829
INTHECOURTOFCOMMONPLEAS,FRANKLINCOUNTY,OHIOCIVILDIVISIONGOOGLE,INC.,CASENO.09CVH10-14836Plaintiff,JUDGEBESSEYVs.MYTRIGGERS.COM,INC.,etal.,Defendants.DECISIONGRANTINGPLAINTIFFANDCOUNTERCLAIMDEFENDANTGOOGLEINC.'SMOTIONTODISMISSDEFENDANTMYTRIGGERS.COM,INC.'SCOUNTERCLAIMSFILEDONAPRIL2,2010ThismatterisbeforetheCourtonPlaintiffGoogle,Inc.'s("Google")Civ.R.12(B)(6)MotiontoDismissDefendantmyTriggers.com,Inc.'s("myTriggers")Counterclaims,filedonApril2,2010.MyTriggersfiledamemoranduminoppositiononApril26,2010.Further,pursuanttoanoralhearingheldonJune10,2010,Google,myTriggers,andtheOhioAttorneyGeneralfiledsupplementalbriefsonJune14,2010.
I.
Case
Background
Googleisapopularsearchenginewhereuserscanenteraqueryandreceiveresultscontaininginformationrelevanttotheuser'ssearch.Inadditiontonaturalresultsbasedonanalgorithm,searchesalsoreturnadvertisingresults,typicallytheresultofanauctionbaseduponbidssubmittedbyadvertisersforkeywordsorcombinationsofkeywords.GoogleutilizesapaidsearchadvertisingplatformknownasAdWords.GooglealsousesaqualityscoringsystembywhichGoogleevaluatesthequalityofanadvertiser'ssite.Googlecreatesa"QualityScore"foreachadvertiser'sbidandusesthescoretoestablishminimumpricingthresholds.Ultimately,adswithhighqualityscoresarecheaperandadswithlowerscoresaremoreexpensive.
1
 
FranklinCountyOhioClerkofCourtsoftheCommonPleas-2011Aug3110:54AM-09CV014836
OAOOO-830
MyTriggersisa"verticalsearch"site,whichallowsuserstocomparepricesforaspecificsegmentofonlinecontent.
In
anefforttocreateagreateramountofusertraffictoitssite,myTriggersbeganusingAdWordsinNovemberof2005anddevelopedkeyworddatabasestobeusedonAdWords.Eventually,myTriggerslineofcreditwithGooglereachedover$250,000permonth.
In
January,2008,myTriggersdatacentersexperiencedoverheatingincidents,causingdamagetoequipmentandforcingmyTriggerstomovetoanewdatacenterandlayoffsomepersonnel.
In
Marchof2008,GoogleraisedtheminimumbidsformyTriggers'keywordbids.Googlebroughttheinstantaction,seekingtocollectamountsowedtoitbymyTriggersforadvertising.
II.MotiontoDismissStandard
"Amotiontodismissforfailuretostateaclaimuponwhichreliefcanbegrantedisproceduralandteststhesufficiencyofthecomplaint."
Powell
v.
Vorys
(C.AlO1998),131OhioApp.3d681,684,quoting,
Stateexref.Hanson
v.
GuernseyCty.BdofCommrs.
(1992),65OhioSt.545,548,605N.E.2d378."Inorderforatrialcourttograntamotiontodismissforfailuretostateaclaimuponwhichreliefmaybegranted,'itmustappearbeyonddoubtfromthecomplaintthattheplaintiffcanprovenosetoffactsentitlinghimtorecovery.'"
Powell,
at684,quoting,
0
'Brien
v.
Univ.CommunityTenantsUnion
(1975),42OhioSt.2d242,327N.E.2d753,syllabus."InresolvingaCiv.R.12(B)(6)motiontodismiss,thetrialcourtmayconsideronlythestatementsandfactscontainedinthepleadings,andmaynotconsiderorrelyonevidenceoutsidethecomplaint."
Powell,
at684,citing,
EstateofSherman
v.
Millhon(1995),
104OhioApp.3d614,617,662N.E.2d1098,1100."Whenacourtrulesonamotiontodismissforfailuretostateaclaim,thecomplaint'sfactualallegationsmustbetakenastrueandallreasonableinferencesmustbedrawninfavorofthenonmovingparty."
SharonEnt.,Inc.
v.
2
 
FranklinCountyOhioClerkofCourtsoftheCommonPleas-2011Aug3110:54AM-09CV014836
OAOOO-831
KenworthofCincinnati,Inc.
(1998),131OhioApp.3d746,749,citing,
Vail
v.
PlainDealerPublishingCo.
(1995),72OhioSt.3d279,649N.E.2d182,
Mitchell
v.
LawsonMilkCo.(1995),
72OhioSt.3d279,649N.E.2d753,756."Amotiontodismisscanbegrantedonlywherethepartyopposingthemotion,here,the[Plaintiff],isunabletoproveanysetoffactswhichwouldentitleittothereliefrequested."
Sharon,
citing,
Kenty
v.
TransamericaPremiumIns.Co.
(1995),72OhioSt.3d415,418,650N.E.2d863,865-866,
York
v.
OhioSt.HighwayPatrol
(1991),60OhioSt.3d143,573N.E.2d1063.
III.LawandAnalysis
FirstCounterclaim:ValentineAct(1331.01etseq.)MyTriggersallegesthatGoogleviolatedOhio'santitruststatute,theValentineAct,codifiedinO.RC.§§1331.01etseq.Specifically,myTriggersclaimsGoogleusedunlawfulagreements,compacts,andother"anticompetitiverestrictions"topreventcompetitioninthesearchadvertisingmarket.Initsmotiontodismiss,GoogleassertsfirstthattheValentineActispreemptedby47U.S.C.§230,ortheCommunicationsDecencyActof1996("CDA").Additionally,GooglearguesboththatthecounterclaimfailstostateaclaimbecauseGoogleactedunilaterallyandmyTriggershasfailedtoallegeeitherharmoranunreasonablerestraintoncompetition.TheValentineAct,specificallysection1331.01(B)oftheRevisedCode,prohibitsillegaltrusts,anddefinesa"trust"asacombinationofcapital,skill,oractsbytwoormorepersonsforanyofthefollowingpurposes:(1)Tocreateorcarryoutrestrictionsintradeorcommerce;(2)Tolimitorreducetheproduction,orincreaseorreducethepriceofmerchandiseoracommodity;or(3)Topreventcompetitioninmanufacturing,making,transportation,saleorpurchaseofmerchandise,produceoracommodity
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