In a click fraud case filed against Google in Pennsylvania by one of the 556 plaintiffs that opted out of the July 2006 class-action settlement, Google won a victory not on any click fraud-related grounds, but on the strength of its AdWords contract. As legal blogger Eric Goldman reports on his Technology and Marketing Law blog, the case was brought in the wrong venue, and now must be re-filed in Google’s home court in California.
According to Goldman:
This case is a nice win for Google for two reasons. First, by upholding the mandatory venue clause, it should inhibit AdWords advertisers from suing Google all over the country. Therefore, all lawsuits will have to be in Google’s home court, which raises the costs of lawsuits for most plaintiffs and gives Google some other home-court advantages.
Second, by holding that this plaintiff is bound by the AdWords contract and those terms aren’t substantively unconscionable, Google can now invoke its risk management clauses (like the warranty disclaimers, limits of liability, etc.) to cut the economic heart out of the click fraud claim.