A US federal judge in San Francisco will hear from Google this Wednesday on an emergency motion the search giant filed late Friday to stop state attorneys general from unsealing the details of their antitrust suit against Google.
Google said it will face substantial harm if the suit, which focuses on its Google Play app store, is fully unsealed because it contains “highly sensitive information” about the company’s business.
It will be recalled that last week, U.S. District Judge James Donato found that Google had not shown a compelling need to keep under wraps the details of antitrust suits filed against the search giant by state attorneys general, developers and Epic Games. The judge ordered each group of plaintiffs to refile an unredacted version of their complaint within seven days.
Epic, the maker of the popular game Fortnite, did so on Thursday, and its complaint revealed some jaw-dropping allegations. According to Epic, Google and Apple colluded to keep rival app stores out of their phones, agreeing to work together “as if we are one company,” and also paid off developers and Android smartphone makers to keep them using the Google Play Store.
Google said the judge’s unsealing order “risks serious competitive and commercial harm” and plans to urge Donato to reconsider. If he doesn’t, the search giant said it will seek an emergency appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. The tech company cited previous 9th Circuit rulings in the Apple and Samsung patent cases about the need to weigh public interest against private parties’ access to the courts.
However, the referenced Apple-Samsung dispute was between two duelling companies, whereas the state AGs represent the public in alleging that Google has broken antitrust law.