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Google, DOJ Head To Court Over Antitrust Protective Order

A U.S. judge will consider arguments in a disputed protective order connected with confidential information in a Justice Department antitrust case against Google, Reuters writes.

According to Reuters, both sides had failed to reach an agreement on how to safeguard private information given by third parties to the government. Both Google and the Justice Department said there were “a small number of significant issues” to go over.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said the government and Google both had until Friday to file position statements outlining their disputed terms for the case.

The suit stems from an Oct. 20 case, where the Justice Department sued Google for illegally using its massive power in the industry to cut down rivals in the “biggest challenge to the power and influence of Big Tech in decades,” Reuters writes.

In response, Google has decried the idea of the suit, saying nobody is forced to use its services.

But rivals of the tech giant see promise in the suit, PYMNTS reported in October. They saw a hands-off approach previously from global regulators when dealing with Google, and Foundem co-founder Shivaun Raff said some seemed to view Google less as a business and more as a “public nonprofit” in various antitrust-related cases.

Mehta previously set deadlines for November in the case, with attorney John Schmidtlein, set to lead Google’s defense, agreeing to have a decision by Nov. 13 on whether Google will request a dismissal on summary judgment.

According to Reuters, Google won’t be seeking to dismiss the suit but instead will be fighting it in federal court.

In addition, Nov. 6 was the deadline set for status reports from both sides on protective orders, used to protect third parties offering up evidence for the government. And a status conference is set for Nov. 18. Mehta is an Obama appointee and worked on at least one antitrust case in his first year on the bench, involving the Federal Trade Commission’s attempt to block a proposed merger between Sysco and U.S. Foods, two of the country’s biggest food distributors.

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