Google is in legal trouble once again over its digital advertising practices in two different lawsuits. These are to be held in British and Dutch courts in the upcoming weeks and the search engine giant could face up to $25.4 billion in damages as a result, which makes up nearly half of the company’s yearly profit for 2022.
The British lawsuit seeks to recover compensation from all owners of websites carrying banner advertising, including traditional publishers. On the other hand, the Dutch lawsuit only seeks to recover compensation from publishers affected by Google’s actions. Both lawsuits are funded by renowned litigation funder Harbour.
This is not the first time Google has found itself in legal trouble for its ads. Antirust regulators have targeted the company in the past as well, including a French competition watchdog that imposed a €220 million fine on the company last year. The European Commission and its UK peer are also investigating Google’s ad tech since it has an unfair advantage over its advertising rivals.
The investigation started in June last year and looked into whether Google prefers its own online display advertising technology services to the detriment of rivals, advertisers, and online publishers.
Damien Geradin at the law firm Geradin Partners said:
It is time that Google owns up to its responsibilities and pays back the damages it has caused to this important industry. That is why today we are announcing these actions across two jurisdictions to obtain compensation for EU and UK publishers.
Google argued against the lawsuits saying that it works constructively alongside publishers across Europe. A spokesperson from the company said:
This lawsuit is speculative and opportunistic. When we receive the complaint, we’ll fight it vigorously.