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Google Ad Tech Antitrust Suit Will Go to Trial, Judge Rules

(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc. will have to defend itself at trial against all of the US Justice Department’s claims of a Google monopoly in online advertising technology after a federal judge rejected the tech giant’s request to decide the case ahead of time.

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“We’re going to let this go to trial” as scheduled in September, US District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema said Friday at a hearing in Alexandria, Virginia. There are “way too many facts in dispute,” she said.

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Google had sought summary judgment in the case, asking that it be decided before a trial. The company argued antitrust enforcers failed to show that it controls at least 70% of the market for display advertising shown on the open web and that Google doesn’t qualify as a monopoly.

Companies sued for antitrust violations often seek to avoid or narrow the issues to be presented at trial. In the Justice Department’s other antitrust suit against Google over its search business, the tech giant persuaded a judge to throw out some of the claims brought by state attorneys general before the trial, which occurred last fall.

Last year, the department sued Google, alleging that it monopolized the market for advertising technology used to buy, sell and serve video and display ads online.

The agency asked for a jury trial after seeking damages on behalf of federal government agencies that bought online ads. But Brinkema ruled last week that the case will proceed as a bench trial — with no jury — after Google cut a cashier’s check for $2.3 million to cover the government’s alleged damages.

At Friday’s hearing, Brinkema also disqualified one of the experts that Google had sought to call at the September trial, finding that his testimony was not “necessary or relevant” to the case.

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