Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) was involved in a court case in Brazil, which we reported in this space earlier this month. Google was being charged with antitrust violations for its search engine results. An update on the case was sent to this writer and to Insider Monkey from a firm representing the losing party, which is Brazilian comparison-shopping Web site Buscape.
Buscape had sued Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) in a Brazilian court, claiming anti-competitive practices in its search results. Google was accused to favoring its own sites, properties and services at the top of its results over other results from other Web sites, including locally based sites, disregarding the relevancy of those results. The court ruled in favor of Google in the case, stating that Google was not a monopoly and that consumers can use any number of different sites to gather search results – even the search feature on Buscape’s own Web site.
However, Buscape is now asking for Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) to be sanctioned for failure to follow court instructions after the case was decided. Buscape posted this update on its Web site, alleging that information about the court decision was “leaked” against court instruction:
“The 18th Civil Court of the São Paulo Central Jurisdiction is processing, under court secrecy, a civil claim for loss and damage filed by Buscapé against Google. Interestingly, and in spite of the confidentiality ruling handed down by the applicable Judge at the request of Google itself in its defense, the lower court decision has been posted, in English, on Search Engine Land, a website specializing in Internet searches. The document comprising the entire decision was also posted, apparently by the same author of the mentioned article, on scribd.com. The document’s properties show the name of Google Brazil’s General Counsel as the author of the file, possible evidence of a breach of the ruling handed down by the Brazilian court. Buscapé regrets the disrespect to the Brazilian legislation, to the court ruling, and the fact that a lower court decision has been treated as final or misrepresented as if it were the formal compliant being examined by CADE, the Brazilian competition authority.”
Buape is asking the court to sanction Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) for violating the court confidentiality order. Is Google getting too big for its britches in that it thinks it can defy a foreign court’s order? Or, is this a simple mistake not done by Google but by some enthusiastic observer? Or could this be something else entirely? Since Google ultimately won the case, it is unlikely to dramatically affect investors in Google stock very much, especially hedge-fund manager Chase Coleman of Tiger Global Management, who had $524 million invested in Google as of the end of June.