US FTC Hires Formidable Outside Litigator For Possible Antitrust Case Against Google

Yesterday it was reported that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hired an outside prosecutor to potentially bring an antitrust case against Google. The attorney is Beth A. Wilkinson, a partner at the firm of Paul Weiss and a former Justice Department official who is best known for her role in the conviction of the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

The hiring of Wilkinson doesn’t guarantee the US will bring an antitrust case against Google. However as a practical matter it makes the likelihood that much greater, indicating the FTC is quite serious and potentially preparing a case.

The hiring of Wilkinson is being likened to the hiring of attorney David Boies, who successfully led the government’s antitrust case against Microsoft roughly a decade ago. (Interestingly Boies is currently representing Oracle in its patent litigation against Google.)

According to the NY Times Wilkinson has an impressive litigation track record. She has reportedly “brought [ ] 40 major cases in government and private practice and won them all.” She hasn’t lost.

Wilkinson’s hiring could also bring the FTC leverage in constructing a “settlement” with Google to avoid litigation. Google’s legal team will clearly see her as a formidable adversary.

The European Commission is also supposed to decide very soon whether to bring a formal case against Google. My sense has been that the Europeans were closer than the US to litigation against Google. However it’s now quite possible that Google could be defending two antitrust cases on two continents, either later this year or early next.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Business Issues | Google: Legal | Legal: Antitrust | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Umair

    i thing you are right case must be against Google very awesome post 

  • guruxyz

    Google knows what they are doing, by constantly changing algorithms, it catches many sites that should be caught, but many sites that should not and results in questionable first page search results which in turn creates more adwords clicks.
    Google as well as all major search engines should be required by law to supply exact details to any website owner who has a site negatively affected by their algorithms so it can be corrected. As it is now you can only get vague information.

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