Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/04/11/streetmap_sues_google/

Remember Streetmap? It's suing Google in a UK court

Files complaint to 'protect its business'

By Kelly Fiveash

Posted in Law, 11th April 2013 14:07 GMT

Google is being sued by UK-based website Streetmap, which is also one of the complainants in the lengthy European Union investigation into allegations that the ad giant is "abusing its dominance" in the online search business.

Streetmap said it had filed a complaint against Google in Britain's High Court in a defensive move to protect its business and added that the decision to sue the multinational was "complementary" with the competition probe in Brussels.

The mapping website claimed its service had been popular in the UK prior to what it alleged to be Google's "anti-competitive conduct".

"This is about choice and about Google’s refusal to provide end users with a choice or to compete on fair reasonable and non discriminatory terms with smaller competitors," said Streetmap commercial director Kate Sutton.

"We have had to take this action in an effort to protect our business and attract attention to those that, like us, have started their own technology businesses, only to find them damaged by Google's cynical manipulation of search results."

EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia has highlighted four areas of concern where he has claimed it was likely that Google had abused its dominant position in Europe's search biz - where it commands more than 90 per cent of the market.

These range from the company offering restaurant and news searches, to "copying original material from the websites of its competitors, such as user reviews" in a move which it has been alleged favours its own services over those of its rivals.

Streetmap - which filed its complaint with the High Court last month - was also among the 11 companies that sent a joint letter to Almunia urging the commissioner to issue a Statement of Objections, which would be a first step in bringing charges against Google.

However, Almunia has long said that he wants to reach a settlement with Google that would stop short of such sanctions.

Google is on the verge of submitting another round of proposed changes to its business practices, the commissioner said earlier this week.

The Register asked Google to comment on this story. A spokesman said: "We haven't seen this complaint." ®

Streetmap.eu Ltd. v Google Inc is case number 13-1013 at the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division.