Google's lawsuit history: The biggest legal cases against the search giant, including antitrust and class-action suits (2024)

Google is one of the world's largest and most influential companies, and the most popular search engine by far. So it's no surprise that the search giant's rapidly evolving and boundary-pushing technology would attract litigation over the course of its 25-year history.

Google has been sued in dozens, if not hundreds of high-profile controversies over privacy, intellectual property, discrimination, advertising, and even defamation, and has racked up both wins and losses over the years.

Some of Google's most consequential legal cases have occurred in 2023 and 2024, including two major antitrust cases and several class-action lawsuits. Here's what you need to know about the biggest recent cases to land on Google's docket.

Why did the US government sue Google over antitrust violations?

The US government's battle against Google has resulted in two major antitrust cases that are both still ongoing.


One case culminated in a landmark monopoly trial in the fall of 2023, which is still awaiting a verdict. The dispute centered on whether Google has illegally abused its monopoly over the search engine industry, spending billions of dollars each year to suppress competition. The US government argued that Google's business dealings have blocked innovation in the search business to the detriment of internet users.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified in the antitrust trial in October 2023, and defended instances in which Google pushed companies like Apple and other smartphone makers into revenue-sharing agreements that would make Google the default search engine on phones and computers.

The Google CEO even acknowledged on the stand that company executives knew that becoming the default search engine on smartphones "would lead to increased usage of our products and services."

The second major antitrust case against Google concerns its online advertising strategies, and is set to go to trial in September 2024. The US government has alleged that Google illegally abused its monopoly over the digital advertising market by acquiring its competitors and forcing website publishers to adopt Google's tools, such as Google Ads, thereby suppressing the rise of rival technologies.


Google has denied any wrongdoing in both cases. The search giant argued during its 2023 trial that Google dominates the search business because it's superior to its rivals, not because of its business dealings. Google has similarly denied the claims in the advertising-related monopoly case, saying its acquisitions were legal and actually enable innovative new advertising technologies, and that the federal government's lawsuit could undo years of industry progress.

What happens if Google loses its antitrust cases?

It's unclear who will win the antitrust case on Google's search engine. Judge Amit Mehta will be the one to decide the outcome, rather than a jury, and Mehta vigorously questioned both sides during closing arguments in May 2024.

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If Google loses the lawsuit, Mehta is expected to take some sort of action that would boost competition in the search-engine business. Google could face consequences like orders to adjust its business practices, or even a total ban on its contracts to make Google the default search engine.

Both antitrust cases carry potentially massive implications for internet users — Google could face sanctions that alter its operations so dramatically that it loses its ubiquity in the search and advertising industries, paving the way for new companies and technologies to flourish.

Google's antitrust cases will also likely influence the outcomes of other antitrust lawsuits the US government has filed against major tech companies. Currently, Amazon, Apple, and Meta all face similar antitrust lawsuits against their business practices that could threaten their market dominance.

What to know about Google's class-action settlements and who can claim money

Google has been the subject of two major class-action lawsuits that were resolved or nearing resolution in late 2023 and 2024.

One of the most hotly anticipated resolutions was that of a class-action case involving personal data collected from 136 million Google Chrome users. The lawsuit accused Google of tracking the internet activity of users who had switched to Google's "incognito" setting.

As part of a settlement agreement, Google said it would delete the search data collected from those 136 million users, which Google said was merely "old personal technical data that was never associated with an individual and was never used for any form of personalization."


Lawyers initially sought a $5 billion payout for consumers, but anyone expecting to receive a chunk of that money will need to sue Google individually to receive any damages. The settlement agreement for the class-action case did not include any monetary damages to be paid out by Google.

Google's lawsuit history: The biggest legal cases against the search giant, including antitrust and class-action suits (2)

Google does, however, have to pay out roughly $700 million as part of a separate class-action case involving the Google Play Store. Attorneys general from five states accused Google of using monopoly tactics to box out competitors to the Google Play Store and limited users' ability to download Android apps from other app stores.

An estimated 102 million consumers were affected between August 16, 2016, and September 30, 2023, and are entitled to compensation of at least $2, the settlement agreement stipulated. Consumers who are eligible for the Google settlement don't need to submit any sort of claim to get that money, however. Consumers will receive automatic payments through PayPal or Venmo.

Google's battle over Europe's "right to be forgotten" laws

Google's lawsuit history: The biggest legal cases against the search giant, including antitrust and class-action suits (3)

One of Google's biggest legal battles in the 2010s concerned the European Court of Justice's "right to be forgotten" ruling and whether Google was responsible for personal data that appears in its search results. Google lost its case in 2014, and the EU court ruled that individuals have the right to remove information about themselves from search engine results.


Under the ruling, Google must respond to legitimate requests from individuals to delist webpages from its search results. Larry Page, one of Google's founders and a former CEO, spoke out vehemently against the EU court's "right to be forgotten" ruling at the time, warning that repressive foreign governments could abuse the ruling.

However, in 2019, Google won a "right to be forgotten" victory in a subsequent EU court ruling, which stipulated that Google only has to delist content from search results in Europe, and the "right to be forgotten" does not apply globally.

Recent research has suggested that Google and Microsoft together have received some 150,000 "right to be forgotten" requests to delist search results each year since the EU court's ruling in 2014. The vast majority of the links targeted for delisting were from Facebook, X, and YouTube.

Google's lawsuit history: The biggest legal cases against the search giant, including antitrust and class-action suits (2024)


Google's lawsuit history: The biggest legal cases against the search giant, including antitrust and class-action suits? ›

Google has faced numerous lawsuits over privacy, intellectual property, monopoly tactics, and more. Google is currently battling two key antitrust cases over its search engine and advertising tactics. Google also recently settled two class-action lawsuits concerning privacy and antitrust violations.

What is the government's antitrust lawsuit against Google? ›

The government has since sued all four companies — Google twice — in what it says is an effort to rein in their power and promote more competition. The companies have denied the claims and are fighting back.

What ever happened with the Google lawsuit? ›

Lawyers for the plaintiffs valued the accord at more than $5 billion, and as high as $7.8 billion. Google is paying no damages, but users may sue the company individually for damages. The class action began in 2020, covering millions of Google users who used private browsing since June 1, 2016.

What exactly is Google accused of? ›

The tech giant is accused of monopolizing the internet search market, sidelining competitors and harming consumers. The DOJ claims Google struck illegal deals, but the company argues it has the best search engine. Stephanie Sy discussed the case with Rebecca Allensworth of Vanderbilt Law School.

How much will people get from Google lawsuit? ›

The company will shell out $630 million to a fund that will go directly to more than 100 million consumers nationwide, according to details of a settlement that was made public late Monday. An additional $70 million will be paid into a fund for states to disburse to consumers for similar claims.

Why is the Google lawsuit important? ›

These antitrust lawsuits against Google all claim the former — that the tech giant used its sprawling reach to discourage competition within internet search and internet advertising, ultimately allowing it to remain the largest player and grow further with minimal encroachment from smaller companies and firms in their ...

What did Google get in trouble for? ›

Google LLC (2020) began at federal court in Washington, D.C. in which the DOJ accuses Google of illegally abusing its monopoly power as the largest online search tool. In January 2023, Google was sued by the federal government and several states for its alleged monopoly over digital advertising technology.

Who filed lawsuits against Google and for which reasons? ›

In 2020, the US Justice Department also filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google for monopolising multiple digital advertising technology products. The ongoing lawsuit claims Google monopolised the “ad tech stack” – the key technologies publishers and advertisers use to sell and buy ads.

Did Google lose the Google Earth lawsuit? ›

The outcome of the Google Earth lawsuit was in favor of Google Inc. The lawsuit involved a patent dispute over Google Earth, the popular three-dimensional mapping software.

Did Google pay $350 million to settle shareholders data privacy lawsuit? ›

Google Parent Alphabet Agrees to Pay Shareholders $350 Million Over Data Leak. Google's parent company Alphabet Inc. agreed to a $350 million tentative settlement resolving allegations it concealed data-security vulnerabilities in the now-shuttered Google + social network.

Why are you being sued Google? ›

As alleged in the complaint, over the past 15 years, Google has engaged in a course of anticompetitive and exclusionary conduct that consisted of neutralizing or eliminating ad tech competitors through acquisitions; wielding its dominance across digital advertising markets to force more publishers and advertisers to ...

What has Google been fined for? ›

France's data protection authority, CNIL, fined Google 50 million Euros – almost 57 million USD, on Monday, alleging the company violated the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) particularly with the way it handles ad personalization.

What is the criminal fine for Google? ›

The Federal Court has ordered Google LLC to pay $60 million in penalties for making misleading representations to consumers about the collection and use of their personal location data on Android phones between January 2017 and December 2018, following court action by the ACCC.

How do I claim $5000 from a Google lawsuit? ›

10. How can I get a payment? To make a claim and receive a payment, you must complete and submit a Claim Form online by September 24, 2022, or by mail postmarked by September 24, 2022. Read the instructions on the Claim Form carefully.

Who is eligible for Google's $700 million settlement payout? ›

If you bought an app on Google Play or made any in-app purchase between August 2016 and September 2023, you may be owed some money. Google GOOG GOOGL has agreed to pay $700 million and make several other concessions to settle antitrust allegations that it had been suppressing competition to its Android app store.

What states are Google Settlements in? ›

The lawsuit was led by the Attorneys General from California, North Carolina, Utah, Tennessee, and New York and includes the attorneys general of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

What is the patent lawsuit against Google? ›

Synopsis. Google reached a settlement in a patent infringement lawsuit over chips in Massachusetts federal court. The settlement comes as closing arguments were scheduled to begin in Singular Computing's lawsuit.

How many times has Google already been fined in antitrust cases? ›

It was the first of three penalties for anti-competitive practices that have cost Google 8.25 billion euros in total in the last decade.

What is the Google ad revenue lawsuit? ›

The lawsuit, filed in January 2023, accuses Google of monopolizing the market for digital advertising and undermining competition. The government has said Google should be forced to sell its ad manager suite.

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