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The last major case hitting Google was the one where Viacom claimed $1 billion for

copyright infringement via Google's recent acquisition YouTube (do they regret
this acquisition now?). This case made our editors curious: How many cases did
Google have to face during its history?. The answer was a bit astonishing: there
were many. So we thought we could compile a short list of Google's class-action
lawsuits, where Google was both a defendant (in the majority of cases) and a

The list is not 100% complete (it would be probably impossible, as there should be
hundreds of them, which didn't even make it on bloggers' pages), but it is meant
to show the readers how absurd, sometimes the charges were, or in how much trouble
Google has gotten, or that some companies have additional departments, which are
made only to sue Google and so on. Enjoy!
Copyright Infringement

Blake Field (author and lawyer) v. Google. Filed on April 6, 2004. Amendment
complaint filed on May 25, 2004.

Claims: copyright infringement: Field claimed that Google's cache feature made it
possible for users to access copies of his copyrighted material.

Outcome: Google's actions proved fair use, as Mr. Field was aware of the fact,
that there is a possibility to disable Google robots from caching his pages.

Gordon Roy Parker v. Google. Filed in August, 2004.

Background: as stated by The Register "Parker, who represented himself in the

suit, publishes online under the name "Snodgrass Publishing Group". One of his
publications was an e-book entitled "29 Reasons Not To Be A Nice Guy" and at some
time he posted Reason 6 from this book onto a Usenet forum, the worldwide network
of discussion groups".

Claims: search engine had breached his copyright in the material.

Outcome: "Judge Surrick dismissed the claim, advising that Google was immune from
prosecution in respect of third party postings by virtue of a provision in the
Communications Decency Act."

Perfect 10 v. Google. Filed on November 19, 2004.

Claims: Perfect 10 claimed Google to have allowed people to view copyrighted

images through Google's image search.

Outcome: (Feb. 17, 2006: Read more..) Judge offered preliminary injunction against

Agence France-Presse v. Google. Filed in March, 2005.

Claims: $17,5 million for the fact that Google News unlawfully incorporated AFP
photographs, headlines and excerpts from the beginning of articles.

Outcome: Google sought case dismissal on the ground that AFP did not indicate the
infringed works with much precision. The defendant tried to remove all the
materials related to AFP from the Google News service, yet the agency was bound to
continue the case. If AFP wins this case, there are some severe changes expected
in the way news will be shown in the Internet.

U.S. Authors Guild v. Google (Google Books/Print). Filed on September 20, 2005.
Claims: Copyright infringement.

Outcome: depends on the fact how important the court, or the courts, will find the
present case. If the court, or the courts, will redefine the term 'fair use' in a
more narrow sense, this would be not a very positive decision for Google.

Association of American Publishers (AAP) v. Google (Google Books Project). Filed

in on October 19, 2005.

Claims: copyright infringement. Google is scanning books, which might still be


Outcome: unknown.

ServersCheck BVBA v. Google. Filed in May 2006 (originally filed in February 2006,
though dismissed).

Claims: Google Inc.'s search engine offers up password-cracking tools and serial
numbers to unlock their software (assistance in copyright infringement).

Outcome: complaint dismissed, yet the plaintiff promised to appeal.

La Martiniere Groupe v. Google. File on June 6, 2006.

Claims: counterfeiting and breach of intellectual property rights. Plaintiff

claimed 100,000 Euro for each book copied or 1 million Euro ($1,3 million). "That
angers the French publishers because it portrays their work as just one step away
from the trash can, said Tessa Destais, a spokeswoman for La Martiniere."

Outcome: unknown - apparently trial is underway.

Copiepresse (Belgian Newspaper Conglomerate) v. Google. Filed in August, 2006.

Claims: to remove all the content indexed by Google's crawlers on the newspaper's

Outcome: Google had to remove the plaintiff's newspaper content from its database
within 10 days or face fines of 1,000,000 Euro per day. Google had to publish "in
a visible and clear manner and without any commentary from her part the entire
intervening judgment on the home pages of and of for a
continuous period of 5 days within 10 days... under penalty of a daily fine of
500,000 Euro per day of delay". Google had was awarded the costs of the expenses
of 941.63 Euro (summons) and 121.47 Euro (costs of thy proceedings).

Viacom v. Google/YouTube. Filed on March 13, 2007.

Claims: copyright infringement (release of unauthorized videos in public).

Outcome: Lawsuit underway.

AdSense Related Lawsuits

Carl Person v. Google. Filed on June 19, 2006.

Claims: antitrust and other violations.

Outcome: lawsuit dismissed. Plaintiff accorded a chance to refill the complaint.

Theresa Bradley v. Google. Filed on August 28, 2006.

Claims: false advertising under the Lanham Act, fraud, interference with
prospective business advantage, violations of California Commercial Code § 2207
relating to alteration of contract terms, breach of contract, unlawful
interception of electronic communications under 18 U.S.C. $ 2520, invasion of
privacy under California law, and intentional destruction of evidence,
professional property, and personal property. For $250,000.

Outcome: wrongful termination of AdSense program claim - dismissed; intentional

termination of property (e-mail messages) - underway.

Korean site, Humor University v. Google. Filed on March 19, 2007.

Claims: The site was banned from the AdSense advertisement program and was not
paid. Plaintiff claims 30 million Won (about $32,000).

Outcome: Lawsuit underway.

Overcharging Advertisers

CLRB Hanson Industries LLC v. Google. Filed on August 3, 2005.

Claims: overcharging advertisers (Google did not honor daily spending limits set
by the advertisers).

Outcome: unknown.

Note: Lawsuits Lane's Gifts and Collectibles v. Google and Click Defense v. Google
could be also attributed to this category.

Trademark Infringement

Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO) v. Google Inc. and Overture

Services. Initially filed on May 4, 2004. Amendments to current complaint from May
14, 2004 and November 29, 2004 have dismissed Overture Services as a defendant.

Claims: trademark infringement in Google's AdWords advertising program.

Outcome: settled between the two parties. Details are held confidential.

Rescuecom Corporation v. Google. Filed in September, 2004.

Claims: Google resells a trademarked keyword to Rescuecom's competitors; Google is

preventing people from reaching Rescuecom's website; Google's sale of keywords
alters the search results delivered to searchers, and this alteration diverts

Outcome: ruled in Google's favor.

JTH Tax, Inc. v. Google. Filed on April 4, 2005.

Claims: "Liberty Tax Service" is a service from the JTH Tax, Inc. The site
"" is a member of Google's AdWord ad program, where its title
is "Liberty Tax Service". No one has specified the exact keyword triggering the
current lawsuit, but JTH Tax has sued Google for injunction.
Outcome: voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff shortly after filing.

Jews for Jesus v. Google. Filed on December 21, 2005.

Claims: trademark infringement. "The basis of this lawsuit is a Blogspot-hosted

blog at Until the lawsuit, this blog was basically
dormant--there were 3 posts between Jan. 30, 2005 and May 9, 2005, and there had
been no posts for over 7 months. The first three posts suggest a tone of mild
criticism against the organization, as does the username ("Whistle Blower")."

Outcome: voluntarily dismissed on July 26, 2006.

Cash 'n Go v. Google. Filed on January 24, 2006.

Claims: Google was selling the keyword "check 'n go" through its Google AdWords ad

Outcome: Settled before going into court.

Lowering a Site's Ranking and Inappropriate Search Results

SearchKing v. Google. Filed on October 18, 2002.

Claims: SearchKing claimed Google to have intentionally lowered page rankings of

the former. Plaintiff claimed $75,000, punitive damages, attorneys' fees.

Outcome: Case dismissed by the court.

Mark G. Maughan v. Google. Filed on March 19, 2004.

Claims: Plaintiff claimed that Google's search engine generated inappropriate

results for "Mark Maughan Accountancy" search query.

Outcome: Google launched an anti-SLAPP in response. Case dismissed and Google

received a $23k from $112k requested for attorneys' fees and costs. v. Google. Filed on March 17, 2006.

Claims: Google didn't include the site in the index list.

Outcome: On March 20, 2007 the judge ruled in Google's favor.

Mark Roberts v. Google. Filed on May 05, 2006.

Claims: mishandling two of the plaintiff's e-commerce sites rankings.

Outcome: claim voluntarily dismissed, after Roberts received a call from Google's
officials with a threatening to start an anti-SLAPP motion, in case Roberts went
on with the suit.

Chris Langdon v. Google.. Filed on May 17, 2006.

Claims: under-ranking. Plaintiff claimed that Google, AOL, Microsoft placed the
plaintiff's site's ads in prominent places.

Outcome: all claims dismissed.

Google v. Auction Expert International. Filed on November 15, 2004.

Claims: Click fraud.

Outcome: Ruled in Google's favor: plaintiff covered Google's fees and costs of

Lane's Gifts and Collectibles v. Google. Filed on February 17, 2005.

Claims: click fraud. The plaintiff claimed improper charges from the Google
AdSense advertising system.

Outcome: Google offered $90 million to settle the case without going to court. Any
web site, an ad partner of Google's ad network, able to prove improper charges
over four previous years, would be eligible for damages.

Click Defense Inc. v. Google. Filed in June 24, 2005.

Claims: negligence in preventing severe cases of click-fraud. Plaintiff claimed

not less than $5 million.

Outcome: Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the complaint on September 14, 2005.

Patent Breach

Rates Technology, Inc. (RTI) v. Google (Google Talk service). Filed on October 5,

Claims: patent infringement (U.S. Patent Numbers 5,425,085 and 5,519,769, from
1991 and 1995). Plaintiff claims damages and injunction.

Outcome: Trial underway.

Jonathan T. Taplin (Intertainer) v. Apple, Google, Napster. Filed on December 29,


Claims: patent breach (U.S. patent No. 6,925,469 "Digital Entertainment Service
Platform", filed September 5, 2001, issued on August 2, 2005. Patent inventors
Kevin P. Headings and Steven M. Schein. Copyright holder - Interteiner).

Outcome: Trial underway.

Other Cases

Department of Justice v. Google. Filed in January, 2006.

Claims: Google rejected the DoJ's request to hand over users' search queries.
Original claim: to provide every query a month's worth and all the URL's crawled
by the robots from MSN Search, Yahoo!, AOL and Google. Narrowed claim: search
queries and URLs narrowed to a million.

Outcome: Google would provide a sampling of websites it searched.

Jeffrey Toback (Nassau County Legislator) v. Google. Filed on May 4, 2006.

Claims: Mr. Toback accused Google in making its money by participating in child
pornography distribution.
Outcome: lawsuit withdrawn by plaintiff.

Universal Tube v. YouTube. Filed on October 30, 2006.

Claims: Plaintiff argued to incur dramatic Web support costs and lost business
because surfers looking for YouTube ( accidentally visit Universal
Tube's site ( instead.

Amendment filed in late December 2006. Universal Tube and Rollform Equipment
Corporation amended its original complaint, filed on October 30, 2006, against
YouTube. They charged Chad Hurley and Steve Chan, founders of YouTube, of
racketeering and knowingly building their business on a copyright infringement.
YouTube motioned to dismiss the case.

Google v. Central Mfg. Filed on January 19, 2007.

Claims: false advertising, unfair competition and RICO violations for claiming
that Leo Stoller owns the Google trademark.

Outcome: Trial underway.

'One-line' lawsuits

France: Luis Vuitton (luggage maker) and Bourse des Vols (Internet travel agency)
started a lawsuit back in 2004 against Google for allowing its advertising
partners to use certain trademarked words as their keywords. Google found guilty.
The decision was appealed.

Germany: similar case (2004). Google found not guilty. "[...] the company is not
liable for the actions of advertisers prior to notification of trademark rights."

USA: Google sued by Yahoo for patent and trademark infringement, related to
search-related advertising.

USA: Overture Services filed a lawsuit against Google for patent infringement: a
patent on placing auction bids in search related results.


According to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) a copyright holder has a
right to claim the identity of infringers without having to fill a lawsuit.

March, 2007: Subpoena to Google/YouTube from Magnolia Pictures for providing

information about a user on YouTube, who calls him/herself "halifixation". This
user has submitted a video, whose copyright holder was Magnolia Pictures. The
video was an Award-nominated documentary "Enron: Smartest Guy in the Room". After
this subpoena, the user was immediately removed from YouTube.

February 21, 2006: Google subpoenaed from American Airlines. The latter demanded
from Google to reveal the identity of the user, who posted a training video, which
was apparently copyrighted by American Airlines. The 'video-sharing site' YouTube
(not under Google at that time) has received a similar subpoena.

January 31, March 13, 2006: Google received a subpoena from U.S. Magistrate Judge
to offer full content of a Gmail account, including deleted messages.

If you are in any financial problems but you are daring enough to get some money,
SUE GOOGLE and ask these people how they made it: Blake Field, Gordon Roy Parker,
Carl Person, Theresa Bradley, Mark G. Maughan, Mark Roberts, Chris Langdon,
Jonathan T. Taplin (Intertainer), Jeffrey Toback; or you could contact these
companies and institutions: Perfect 10, Agence France-Presse (France), U.S.
Authors' Guild, Association of American Publishers, ServersCheck BVBA (Belgium),
La Martiniere Groupe (Belgium), Copiepresse (Belgium), Viacom, Humor University
(Korea), CLRB Hanson Industries, Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO),
Rescuecom Corporation, JTH Tax, Inc., "Jews for Jesus", Cash 'n Go, SearchKing,, Click Defense, Department of Justice, Universal Tube and Rollform
Equipment Corporation, Advanced Internet Techs., Inc., Netjumper software,
McGRawl-Hill, Digital Envoy. They could probably give you a piece of advice!

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