MONTH-IN-BRIEF (Jan 2023)
Justice Department Sues Google for Monopolizing Digital Advertising Technologies
By Jane Michetti, JD Candidate 2023, Widener Commonwealth Law School
On January 24, 2023, the U.S. Justice Department, joined by the Attorney Generals of California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Virginia, filed a civil antitrust suit against Google alleging violation of Section 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. This is the second such lawsuit filed against Google in two years. The earlier suit was filed under the Trump administration in October 2020 alleging Google was cutting off competition for internet search through exclusionary agreements. That lawsuit is expected to go to trial in September 2023.
The current complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia alleges that Google engages in anticompetitive and exclusionary conduct when it comes to advertising by monopolizing key digital advertising technologies, referred to as the “ad tech stack.” Website publishers rely on ad tech tools to secure revenue that supports maintenance and creation of an open web, which in turn gives public access to various goods, services, unique ideas, and artistic expressions.