Excerpt from our Wall Street Breakfast, a one-page summary of this morning's key market-moving and stock-moving stories:
We’re Google. So Sue Us. [New York Times]
Summary: Gulliver-like, Google has been the subject of a number of recent lawsuits, both large and small. Its business practices, which play fast and loose with copyright laws, have irked both individuals and companies who are seeking to protect their intellectual properties. The recent acquisition of YouTube adds another front ripe for potential attack. To fight back against these lawsuits, Google has increased its legal defense from one lawyer in 2001 to to almost 100 today. To protect its highly guarded search algorithms from the glare of the pretrial discovery phase and subsequent subpoenas, the Internet giant has a pressing interest in resolving all lawsuits quickly and in its favor, no matter how frivolous they seem. The company is also looking to build up a body of legal precedent in its favor, which is another reason it often, though not always, vigorously fights back in court rather than settling out of court. Many of the plaintiffs are looking not just for financial compensation but also to change Google's business practices. Even Google's sale of keywords for its ad business has come in to question. Geico Insurance sued the Internet company for the sale of the words "Geico" and “Geico Direct” to the insurance company's competitors. The companies settled out of court.
Related links: Yahoo and Google Earnings Indicative of Unhealthy Reliance on Online Advertising • Google Changes Terms of Service for Advertisers • The Washington Post: 'Click Fraud' Threatens Foundation of Web Ads • Australian PC World:YouTube deletes 30,000 files on request by Japan
Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Stocks: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Yahoo! (YHOO), AOL (NYSE:TWX) • ETFs: First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index Fund (NYSEARCA:FDN), First Trust IPOX-100 Index (NYSEARCA:FPX), iShares Dow Jones US Technology (NYSEARCA:IYW).
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