Internet Law

Google denounces auto-complete trial as unfair

Google has denounced a judgment (14.05.2013 Az. VI ZR 269/12) holding the technology company liable for its auto-complete function. It has emerged in a recently published decision, that Google challenged Germany’s Federal Court of Justice (BGH) judgment on fair trial grounds, but lost.

Google denounces auto-complete trial as unfair © ferkelraggae-Fotolia

Google denounces auto-complete trial as unfair © ferkelraggae-Fotolia

Fair trial

“Google took the view that the BGH had not analysed all the arguments presented in evidence and therefore infringed the company’s right to a fair trial under article 103 of the German constitution,” IT law expert Christian Solmecke explains.

The BGH rejected the challenge. The court took the view that, despite the fact that not all arguments were expressly considered in the judgment itself, the judges had weighed up all relevant factors necessary in order to reach a conclusion.

German lawyer Solmecke continues, “The fair trial challenge signals that Google may be preparing appeal the judgment to Germany’s federal constitutional court. The requirement to bring such an appeal is a negative result to the fair trial challenge in the BGH.

“Such a constitutional challenge has little chance of success as the BGH is generally known for its thorough analysis of relevant facts and evidence. It seems the company it clutching at all available legal straws still available.”

Auto-complete deletion

“Following the BGH judgment, Google decided not to completely deactivate its auto-complete function, but apparently opted instead to examine every search term entered by users. Deleting an auto-complete term generally takes around two weeks.

“Our law firm has receives up to 2 enquiries a week seeking the deletion of an auto-complete term. Many of the enquiries concern personality right infringements from companies which are displayed by Google in the context of insolvency or fraud proceedings,” Solmecke concludes.

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Christian Solmecke is a partner at the law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE. He is the author of numerous legal publications in the area of internet and IT law. He is also an associate lecturer for social media law at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

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