Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Symposium on Competition in Online Search May 21-22, 2012

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Over the next two days (May 21-22, 2012), the blog will host a symposium in relation to the Federal Trade Commission’s investigations into Google. The FTC recently announced that it had hired well-known litigator Beth Wikinson of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP to work on their investigations into Google. A number of commentators have interpreted this as a sign that the FTC is preparing to litigate, but absent from the reporting of this announcement was any elaboration of what the antitrust case against Google actually might be. For our blog symposium, we will hear the views from a number of academics and policy experts who have written about the Google investigations. A number of complaints have been made against Google, including by its competitors Microsoft, Expedia and Yelp who say that Google favors its own content and forecloses the ability of other sites to compete. Google argues that its actions are pro-competitive and are all about providing the best possible experience for the user. Google says it is a guide and not a gatekeeper on the internet. An important question for our symposium is whether antitrust law actually applies to the allegations that have been made against Google.

We have a great group of commentators for the symposium, including:
● Mark Jamison, University of Florida, Warrington College of Business
● Adam Thierer, George Mason
● Eric Clemons, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
● Dan Crane, Michigan Law School
● James Grimmelman, New York Law School
● Marina Lao, Seton Hall
● Maurice Stucke, University of Tennessee College of Law
● Bob Litan, Kauffman Foundation
● Eugene Volokh, UCLA
● Marvin Ammori, Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School
● Mark Patterson, Fordham Law
● Frank Pasquale, Seton Hall
● Allen Grunes, Brownstein Hyatt

● Can there be a market for unpaid search results and could Google be classified as a public utility? (Mark Jamison; Adam Thierer; Eric Clemons, Mark Patterson)
● Is there a basis in antitrust law for requiring ‘neutral’ search results (Dan Crane; James Grimmelman; Marina Lao; Maurice Stucke and Allen Grunes together)
● Does the FTC have grounds to pursue a Section 5 case against Google? (Bob Litan)
● Is search protected by the first amendment? (Eugene Volokh)
● Are there practical remedies that wouldn’t involve federal regulation of search results? (Marvin Ammori; Frank Pasquale)

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