Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

You Still Can't Sue Google If You Don't Like Your Rankings... Especially If You Can't Back Up Most Of The Charges

from the now-pay-up-the-legal-fees dept

Last year, we noted the latest in a long string of lawsuits from companies who were suing Google because they didn't like how Google ranked their sites in search results. The arguments were weak from the beginning and none of the cases have gone very far, so it's no surprise to see that in this latest case, filed by a company called KinderStart, the judge hasn't just tossed out the suit, but called it frivolous and demanded that KinderStart pay Google's legal fees. The judge then goes on to berate KinderStart's lawyer for the charges he filed. On one set of charges, the judge noted: "they are factually baseless and because (KinderStart attorney Gregory) Yu failed to perform an adequate investigation before filing them." On another: "Yu had a professional responsibility to refrain from filing such allegations if he did not have appropriate supporting evidence." It sounds like a case where the company (and its lawyer) just tossed up any charge they could think of hoping that either something would stick or Google would just fold and settle. However, the basic fact remains: Google is a private company and can rank your site however they feel is appropriate. If your ranking sucks (or if Google removes your site because it felt you were spamming) that may not be good for you, but it's certainly not illegal.

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  • identicon
    James, 21 Mar 2007 @ 7:30am


    How 'bout some legislation that says if you file more than 3 frivolous lawsuits in a 5 yr period, you're disbarred?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nicko, 21 Mar 2007 @ 7:55am

    Beyond the Information Age

    I guess we are entering a new age that wasn't covered in SimEarth

    *Frivolous litigation and Stupid Regulation Age*
    Nanotech Age

    Hopefully the Grey Goo will come and save us from all these lawyers soon ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Overcast, 21 Mar 2007 @ 8:02am

    Yeah, if we didn't have frivolous lawsuits, think of how many poor lawyers would be starving... think of the lawyer's kids!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    googleite, 21 Mar 2007 @ 8:30am

    Simply dumb

    Just think with the money they wasted on a lawyer they could have done the smarter thing an hired a SEO guru!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    The Only Adult in the House, 21 Mar 2007 @ 8:36am

    Silly Children

    Based on the linked report, it is impossible to judge the validity of the filed lawsuit.

    I can understand why KinderStart might allege anti-competitiveness. KinderStart is, afterall, a search portal for children. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Google would manipulate its ratings to downgrade a competitor.

    On the other hand, this lawsuit might have been baseless, but merely a publicity stunt by KinderStart.

    There are lots of possibilities here. The spin given on this blog is unsupported by the evidence. The blog entry should be thrown out and the blogger required to pay browsing fees.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Buzz, 21 Mar 2007 @ 9:31am


    No one ever responds to my comments here. I'm suing Techdirt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    billy, 21 Mar 2007 @ 9:56am

    speaking of frivalous

    this should be used as precedence to make the MAFIAA pay all legal fees with their gross lack of evidence

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    PT, 21 Mar 2007 @ 10:24am

    New law?

    It would be nice if a new federal law for civil suits is passed that basically says, if anyone is going to sue, they damn better make sure their case is top notch, has the supporting evidence, and practically guarantees a win. Because if a plaintiff files and loses, they MUST pay legal fees of the defendant. Goodbye, frivolous lawsuits.

    Then its going to really be about the best of the best lawyers out there. Sure, they'll cost a whole lot more, but at least we can acknowledged that they are the best at being a weasel (or savior against oppressive business practices and bullies?)

    It would be interesting to watch how many lawsuits stop being filed and how many lawyers start seeking other professions. Maybe we'll just see more paralegals to help people with day to day law related items instead of full fledge lawyers.

    Of course, this is probably only possible in a dream world...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Buzz, 21 Mar 2007 @ 3:26pm

    Dang, you guys ruined my lawsuit. There goes my 2.9 million dollars. :P

    But you're right, people have responded to my comments (in articles beside this one), so I don't have a leg to stand on. ^_^

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Enrico Suarve, 22 Mar 2007 @ 8:49am

      Re: Buzz

      How about we take it in turns to insult you? would that equal more or less money than just ignoring you?

      For now I'll just call you a bitch but if you promise to cut me in on your litigation money I can get really inventive ;0)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Buzz, 24 Mar 2007 @ 8:09pm

        Re: Re: Buzz

        That's a good start. I think insulting changes the lawsuit altogether since I'm no longer being ignored. I don't know how much I'm owed at this point. XD

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ted, 23 Mar 2007 @ 12:19am

    Put Brain In Gear Guys- KinderStart Does Not Have

    I'll try to keep this short for you googlephiles-

    The case was not thrown out for being frivolous, and no fines were filed against KinderStart.

    The quote above was taken from a rule 11 motion directed at one of KinderStart's Attorneys. NOT FROM THE RULING ON THE CASE

    Google did try to get KinderStart to pay it's fees- and filed an "Anti-Slapp" motion claiming KinderStart's lawsuit was frivolous- but the Judge threw that out.

    Google has to pay it's own lawyers- not KinderStart

    One KinderStart Lawyer might have to pay a Google Lawyer, as the Judge felt a claim he made (one out of many) could not be backed up-

    The claim was that Google takes cash for search results- the judge or whomever wrote the rule 11 results did not feel the lawyer (YU) had enough evidence.

    Personally I don't think we've seen or heard the end of this case.

    One interesting note- is that i large letter on the front page of the ruling it says



    meaning this case can not be used in court and is not precedent- i

    Maybe one of the Google Lawyers can tell us why the Judge wrote that?

    Check out this article

    Is Google Evil?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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