Idealo Google search results, abusing its dominant position.
A German price-comparison portal has become the first major company to sue Alphabet Inc.’s Google LLC while invoking a 2017 European antitrust decision to fine the U.S. technology giant for abusing its dominant position in the search-engine market.
If it succeeds, the litigation could spark similar actions in Europe by other tech firms that have so far hesitated to take on the Silicon Valley company.
In the suit filed in a Berlin court on Friday, Idealo Internet GmbH, a leading price-comparison service that is majority-owned by publisher Axel Springer SPR 0.28% SE, alleges that Google GOOGL, +1.09% made it harder for users of its search engine to find links to Idealo after the American company started promoting its own price-comparison offering, now called Google Shopping. Alphabet’s European entity, Google Ireland Ltd., is also targeted by the suit.
The two-year-old ruling invoked by Idealo led the European Union’s competition authority to fine the tech giant €2.42 billion ($2.72 billion) for what the EU said was prioritizing Google’s own offerings over those of rivals in search results. At the time, EU Competition Commissioner Margarethe Vestager encouraged companies to use the ruling as a basis to seek damages against Google.
Google appealed that decision and said at the time it “respectfully disagreed” with the ruling.