Google, which operates the world’s most popular search engine, recently defeated an antitrust claim brought by an online supplier of stock images in the case Dreamstime.com, LLC v. Google, LLC, decided on December 6, 2022, by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Dreamstime Opinion helps illustrate some difficulties in defining the relevant market to allege anticompetitive injury to support an antitrust claim.
Google operates a popular search engine that connects users with websites based on search inquiries using proprietary algorithms developed by Google. These algorithms help users find pertinent websites by considering a website’s relevance, utility, age, as well as the user’s own search history and browser settings. Google also maintains an image repository (“Google Images”) that shows relevant pictures in connection with search results. Google’s business model focuses on advertising revenue instead of charging users to utilize its search engine. Companies can pay to have their ads displayed next to search results, which are referred to as sponsored or paid search results. The other search results generated by Google that are not associated with the paid advertisements are referred to as “organic” or “free” search results.
Dreamstime is a Romanian company that maintains an online repository of millions of stock images, many of which are available for purchase but millions of others are available for free. Dreamstime relies primarily on user traffic directed to its...
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