ACCC satisfied with Google court loss

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ACCC satisfied with Google court loss

Says action ultimately changed behaviour.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has used Google’s recent High Court win against the regulator as an example of court action that ultimately changed behaviour.

“While I do understand the media’s desire to report in a 'winner takes all' way, this is not how we see it,” Sims told the National Press Club today.

The ACCC court action against Google began in 2007, with the ACCC arguing the search giant was engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct by returning advertisements for one company when a search engine query for its competitor was entered.

The ACCC lost the case on appeal in February, when the High Court ruled that Google did not create the sponsored links that it published or displayed. 

Sims argued while the ACCC may have lost the case, it did change the two types of behaviour Google was engaging in that caused the regulator to institute the proceedings in the first place.

Google claims it now responds to requests to remove content that breaches its policies, ultimately allowing companies to protect their brands from being hijacked.

“Instituting proceedings follows extensive investigation, very careful consideration and, as I have said, legal advice that we have reasonable grounds to institute proceedings,” Sims said.

“When taking a case, or even if we lose a case, often messages are sent and behaviour can change.”

Sims added that the regulator would be too conservative if it always won enforcement legislation.

"We must take cases where we win and sometimes where we don’t," he said.

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