KinderStart Hearing and Source Documents

By Eric Goldman

There was a hearing in the KinderStart v. Google case last Friday. The CNET report does a good job recapping the action. (Here’s the recap from the Register). You should read the whole article, but here’s my take from the report: KinderStart’s First Amendment claim looks DOA (surprise!), but the antitrust-based claims may survive the motion to dismiss (or at least get another chance to be pled).

Personally, I think the antitrust-based claims will be tough to plead, let alone win. Although Google permeates our lives (and comprises about 85% of the search engine referrals to my blogs), most stats still indicate that Google has a less than 50% share of the search engine market. While this stat alone isn’t dispositive to an antitrust claim, I just don’t see how KinderStart can marshal up enough facts to show antitrust violations.

Meanwhile, some new source materials in this case:

* the First Amended Complaint

* KinderStart’s opposition to the motion to dismiss

* Google’s reply to that opposition

* Gregory Yu’s page where he’s soliciting potential plaintiffs for a class

I’ve previously posted other documents in this case, including

* the initially filed complaint

* Google’s motion to dismiss

* Google’s motion to strike (anti-SLAPP motion)

My previous coverage:

* My deconstruction of the initial complaint

* Commentary on Google’s motion to dismiss and strike

And finally, some related coverage:

* Roberts v. Google (ranking lawsuit withdrawn for fear of an anti-SLAPP motion)

* Langdon v. Google (lawsuit seeking a “must carry” obligation for Google)

* my article on search engine bias, where I document the various ways that search engines skew their results but then explain why this bias is beneficial

UPDATE: A transcript of the June 30 hearing. I haven’t had a chance to digest this, but it looks like there is lots of good stuff in here–much more color than the newspaper reports.

UPDATE 2: Rebecca Tushnet weighs in on the case. She thinks that the false advertising claim might have some traction (a point I agree with), although KinderStart might not be the right plaintiff, and she explains why Google’s anti-SLAPP counterclaim should fail.