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A US federal judge has thrown out a defamation suit against Google, brought after the advertising firm's PageRank search engine relegated parenting links site KinderStart.com.

A Northern California District Court ruling, which emerged on Tuesday, threw out the case which had been brought in March last year.

The judge also imposed yet-to-be-determined sanctions on KinderStart's lawyer Gregory Yu for making unsupported allegations against Google.

In the ruling Judge Jeremy Fogel wrote: "While Yu has brought a novel challenge to a major corporation, it is apparent that to some extent he has overreached in doing so...Yu had a professional responsibility to refrain from filing such allegations if he did not have appropriate supporting evidence."

The judgement said KinderStart had failed to demonstrate that Google had caused it harm with a provably false statement.

The suit alleged that when Google delisted KinderStart in March 2005 it violated anti-trust, unfair competition, free speech, and libel laws.

Reuters reports a Google statement said: "We always felt these claims were unjustified, because courts have consistently rejected complaints over search engine rankings, so we're pleased that Judge Fogel promptly dismissed this case."

Fogel granted Google the right to seek legal fees incurred in fighting the case. ®

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