Judge asks ACCC to revise its Google case

The Federal Court has asked for more clarification from the ACCC regarding its case against Google and the Trading Post

Australian Federal Court judge, James Allsop, this week ordered the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to go away and revise its case against The Trading Post and Google, claiming it didn't make sense.

Justice Allsop asked Australia's consumer watchdog to better clarify the allegations of misleading and deceptive conduct it brought against the Trading Post and various Google companies in July.

The ACCC had alleged that Google failed to adequately distinguish paid sponsored links from regular or 'organic' search results, and is therefore engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct.

However, Justice Allsop was not convinced that the ACCC's case held water.

Media reports quoted Allsop as saying that the court documents presented by the ACCC were "opaque" and "somewhat repetitious."

He cited a lack of clear and concise explanation of Internet and search engine concepts as another hurdle the ACCC must overcome before the matter resumes in early October.

Allsop said that a plaintiff's inability to succinctly explain their claims often reflects an erroneous proposition.

Google's counsel are also arguing that the case should not involve foreign subsidiaries of Google as fall outside of Australian jurisdiction.

Google Australia only comment on the matter was a statement which read: "From the outset, we have stated said this case is wrongly based and we're now making our arguments to the Court. Our focus is on delivering relevant information to Australian users and helping Australian businesses enjoy the benefits of search marketing."

Justice Allsop asked the ACCC to offer a revised summary of its claims against each of the defendants, and adjourned the case until October 4.

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Andrew Hendry

Computerworld

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