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Fri May 1 2009 11:00:53

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

By: Ina Steiner

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Plaintiffs in the eBay antitrust lawsuit have filed a Motion to Compel (PDF file) to get eBay to turn over certain documents as part of the discovery process. "The disputed discovery requests seek production of underlying communications and strategy documents related to a number of domestic agreements with three third parties, AOL, Yahoo and Google."

The Plaintiffs' motion includes reference to something called Project "Unity," stating it "was an agreement between Yahoo and eBay in 2006. Essentially, upon learning Google was considering offering an online payment product, eBay immediately sought to protect itself from having to compete on the merits with Google. Using its monopoly position in online auctions, eBay sought to strike a deal with Yahoo in the United States to form a united front to disadvantage Google Checkout. EBay and Yahoo formed "Project Unity" to blunt Google's innovative products from outpacing eBay's and Yahoo's core businesses. Plaintiffs are entitled to probe this agreement between eBay and online giant Yahoo."

However, the motion also includes a statement about Google: "After eBay banned Google Checkout from eBay (a rival payment system to PayPal), Google publicly decried eBay's efforts to reduce consumer choice. eBay and Google, however, thereafter negotiated a global advertising agreement, after which Google has not been publicly vocal regarding eBay’s practices of restricting consumer choice of payment systems on eBay."

The plaintiffs stated that eBay objected a year ago to the request on a number of grounds, including that Plaintiffs sought documents protected by the attorney-client privilege, work product doctrine or any other privilege and that the request was overly broad, unduly burdensome, and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, and quote, "Subject to and without waiving its objections, eBay will produce, to the extent they are available and to the extent that Google does not object to their disclosure, copies of signed agreements between eBay or PayPal and Google pertaining to U.S. websites that are relevant to online auctions or online payment systems."

While these are claims from an adversarial party, it shows that the antitrust lawsuit eBay is facing could get very interesting and is dragging in some major players in the process. There is a Motion Hearing set for June 3, 2009, at 09:30 AM in Courtroom 4, 5th Floor, in San Jose.

Update: It's the eBay Seller Antitrust Litigation, Case #:5:07-cv-01882-JF, filed 4/4/2007. Here's the last thing I wrote about it from last month.





Comments (43) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

by: Jake

Fri May 1 11:20:42 2009

The cats out of the bag eBay….You are guilty of double dipping your sellers by forcing them into using an over priced payment service that YOU own..I for one will want my Paypal fees refunding..as many other ripped off sellers will I imagine

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

by: On Lies and Secrets

Fri May 1 11:34:41 2009

Thanks for reporting this.  I hope other parties who have been wronged by the ebay corporation also seek justice from the courts. IMO, the time for consumers negotiating directly with the ebay corporation has passed - ebay management has been intractable and unwilling to be reasonable or to operate with basic fairness, from my perspective.  Consumers have rights that corporations must respect (or else they should cease to operate) and I am happy these parties are protecting their rights through the court system.

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

by: rainbowseeker

Fri May 1 11:37:54 2009

About time someone questioned the Pay Pal monopoly on payments.  I don't like restricting my customers payment options.  It is not good business policy.  And in 10 years I have NEVER had an issue with a personal check or money order!  So who is eBay protecting ME from?????

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

by: Kal

Fri May 1 11:40:15 2009

Cripes, you'd think eBay would have taken a page from Microsoft's experience with trying to ''cut someone out of the market'' with it's Netscape/Anti-trust loss.

But then again, this was still during the Bush years (2006) where business could get away with anything and not be held accountable for it. Microsoft really only got ''slapped'', whereas if it were not for the Clinton Administration having just ended and Bush taking over, you can be sure we'd have a different Microsoft today - the one the judge wanted to split up. Bush comes in, no split.

I hope eBay get's what it deserves. Screw eBay.

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

by: Ebay Law school

Fri May 1 11:53:37 2009

Awesome news, I hope you can get a webfeed from the courtroom, Ina!
Ebay's going down. But don't count on getting a refund from those dirtbags, the lawyers will keep it all & give you a couple pennies back.

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

by: Patricia

Fri May 1 12:11:41 2009

I'm totally pessimistic.  I feel ebay with "slither" out of this as they have on so many other things.  I'd like nothing better then to see them slapped down hard!

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

by: Scriptorical

Fri May 1 13:08:58 2009

Ina, Who filed this anti trust lawsuit. You mention an adversarial party....

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

by: ebay=penny stock

Fri May 1 13:31:13 2009

Ebay had be very careful cause the stink that is coming from San Hose is becoming very toxic.

Might need a government bailout for all the toxic stuff.

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

by: John

Fri May 1 14:05:47 2009

@ Jake. . . "You are guilty of double dipping your sellers by forcing them into using an over priced payment service that YOU own"

While I am all for ebay opening up all payment options for buyers/sellers I do disagree with it being overpriced. When you compare it to the negotiated rates of most merchant accounts using interchange as a base fee they are pretty much on par with the rest. Just a thought.

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

by: George

Fri May 1 14:32:54 2009

I don't know what payment service John uses but even after Google implements their price increase, they are still far cheaper than Paypal, which is the only thing keeping eBay afloat.  
Don't know how you spell it but I spell it MONOPOLY.  

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Fri May 1 15:00:42 2009

This is likely the antitrust suit Michael Malone filed against PayPal two or three years ago.

Since then in other discussions on this blog, I commented on the curious silence of both Yahoo and Google after ebafia screwed them and speculated backroom deals had been reached to silence them.

IF THIS SUIT ISN'T SETTLED OUT OF COURT LIKE MOST PREVIOUS EBAY/PAYPAL LAWSUITS, IT WILL REVEAL THAT EBAFIA IS ONE OF THE MOST CORRUPT CORPORATIONS IN AMERICA.

NEG MEG WHITMAN and The Ho were onboard at the time these likely illegal pacts were made, and this issue along with the massive fraud Meg winked at during her tenure ought to be Democrat centerpiece talking points in 2010.

Ebafia is not only sociopathic and despicable, they are manifestly evil.

DEATH to ebay corp. in 2009.

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

by: joe

Fri May 1 16:18:48 2009

Anyone have Malone's address, I would like to send him a few dollars, not much but I want to let him know many are supportive.

Listen Ebay... sometimes you run into someone that just will not lay down and take it,seems like you finally found him...good luck malone

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Fri May 1 19:31:03 2009

At the moment, the only difference I can think of between ebafia and the Mafia is that ebafia has probably never murdered anyone.

Unless, of course, anyone knows of any suicide ebafia's sociopathic policy changes might have contributed to.

Think about it. There's really very little daylight between their respective business practices.

Sleep with the fishes in 2009, ebafia.
Don Horleone must go.
Shave, Griff.

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Fri May 1 20:38:35 2009

Most class action lawsuits are filed on a contingency fee payment plan. This means that the plaintiff(s) don't incur any legal expenses during the course of the lawsuit.

In the event the plaintiff wins a monetary judgement against the defendant, the plaintiff's attorney takes a substantial percentage of the judgement with the remainder of the judgement split among the plaintiffs or the members of the class.

A California law firm is handling Malone's case, and you can read about it and sign up here if you feel you may be a member of the class as described.

http://snurl.com/h6rk1

**********************
******************

Long
time sellers will recall that when ebafia bought PayPal, they signed an agreement with the Department of Justice promising not to use PayPal to stifle or eliminate competitive payment systems.

Since then, ebafia has used every slick legal trick imaginable -- and perhaps some that aren't legal -- to circumvent this agreement and likely crossed the line when the made PayPal mandatory and required sellers to remove references to accepting money orders and checks in their listings.

Compensation for Malone's attorneys really isn't an issue.

The REAL issue is to sign up and let the law firm know you do NOT want this case settled out of court.

Here's why: The agreements reached by the two parties are SECRET, and the terms of the settlement by order of the court can't be revealed publicly.

Further, out of court settlements typically result in judgements that are far, far, far less than a jury would likely award the plaintiff if the plaintiff prevailed.

Of course, the plaintiff risks losing the case by taking the case to trial.

However, it seems to me that ebafia's violations of the Sherman Anti Trust Act have seen so frequent and so egregious that plaintiffs stand an excellent chance in court -- especially if ebafia obeys the laws and turns over documents Malones' attorneys are requesting during the discovery process.

The firm that's handling this case is
Hagens, Berman, Sobol, Shapiro LLP in San Francisco.

Their telephone number is (510) 725-3000. Be sure to check out their website (URL above) to educate yourself about fraud and class action suits to see if you can either sign or add a valuable component to the lawsuit with your personal experiences if they can be verified.

It's important to remember that courts are law and evidence based. If you have hard evidence that you've been harmed by either ebafia or PayPal within the parameters of the case, then consider contacting the lawyers directly as directed on their website.

The above should not be construed as legal advice.

Sleep with the fishes, ebafia corp.

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

by: On Lies and Secrets

Fri May 1 21:23:07 2009

I really would like to see a case like this one go all the way to trial.  If it does, I hope that justice is served.  IMO, consumers deserve justice and they deserve for their courts to uphold their rights by supporting honest and ethical business dealings.  

There is a reason for all of these taxpayer funded bailouts to corporations lately - too many corporations are run badly and are run by individuals who lack sound business ethics. I hope the courts support taxpayers and consumers by holding these corporations and their management teams accountable to the law and accountable to fair and honest dealings.  

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

by: Fruity

Fri May 1 23:41:21 2009

I wonder what it would be like if Yahoo didn't suddenly stop and get out of the auction biz. Think about it, they had payments, auctions and yahoo stores (that rock).

Yeah, its not like then CEO Terry Semels wasn't friends with Meg Whitman. He

hosted his "friendraiser" last month for her bid for governor. Interesting huh
http://www.thewrap.com/article/2407

Yahoo was sure buying the rest of the competitors ebay wasn't and just idling them during that period.

Anyways, clearly these mega giant leaders could have done more to increase their presence and offer consumers more options in ecommerce & payments

Personally, I've found that Google has alot of techies who know their stuff and design great things. What I've noticed was a very drastic mediocre schoolgrade google checkout. When I think about why of all the great things they always roll out they would roll out that POS.. I always thought back to the day ebay yielded so much power to get Google on their knees (ie Boston Tea Party GCO)

Whoever is taking ebay to court over the antitrust case should start raising stink over at Congress because while ebay will drag this on in litigation, the impact to consumers should be brought up immediately. I hope that those people are listening and will do both in conjunction. Congress can seize those documents and at the very least they can haul them before a panel so we can watch on C-SPAN. Makes you wonder about whether they should of even been allowed by the FTC to buy Bill Me Later

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

by: Fruity

Sat May 2 00:24:46 2009

I also find it odd that there's not many references to this Malone v Ebay lawsuit out on the web. You would think an anti-trust lawsuit naming the big 3 would be all over the place. Hopefully they're not pulling an SDC_PROD trick again

Ina is there any way we can look at the document that was filed re bringing in Goog, Yhoo and AOL?

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sat May 2 01:30:28 2009

@ Fruity

I found two references about this motion both saying the same thing.

If you want to read the entire motion, you might see what court district San Jose is located in and then search to see whether the Clerk of the District Court (or California's equivalent) has it online.

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sat May 2 01:49:23 2009

@ Fruity

The other plaintiffs in the Malone case are ebay sellers Todd Van Pelt and Ann Farmers, and I believe their case was consolidated some time ago with that of Michael Malone's.

If you'll to the law firm's website, whose URL is one of my posts above, and click on on the blue link that says complaint, you can read all the relevant information.

For a legal document, it's both an easy as well quite revealing.

Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit   Google, Yahoo, AOL Dragged into eBay Antitrust Lawsuit

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sat May 2 01:58:57 2009

I erred - the case of cours eis afederal case because it's an anti trust case. Don't know what I was thinking!

Anyway, I'll check and see if the current motion is available online.

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