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Google judge tells lawyers to figure out document dispute

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: The Google sign is shown on one of the company's office buildings in Irvine, California

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge hearing a U.S. government antitrust case against Google on Thursday urged the lawyers to work out a complicated dispute on pre-trial document production among themselves.

The Justice Department has been pushing Alphabet's Google to produce documents on a long list of topics related to its lawsuit, which accuses the company of breaking antitrust law in its search and search advertising businesses.

Google has balked at some of the production, describing some requests in a court filing as "overly broad."

The Justice Department's lawyer, Kenneth Dintzer, said that the government needed Google's help in crafting a list of search terms that would be used to find relevant documents, saying that people in the company would use nicknames for certain topics, like writing "Redmond" instead of "Microsoft." Microsoft, a Google rival and critic, is based in Redmond, Washington.

In the end, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta issued no order but urged the two sides to sort out the disagreements, saying that the government needed to figure out what it wanted and Google needed to help it write search terms to find that data.

"I just don't know any better way to do that... but to continue hammering at this," he said.

The Justice Department’s lawsuit, filed in October, focused on Google’s search and search advertising. That federal case has been combined with an antitrust case brought by states for pre-trial matters.

The state case, which was filed in December, also accused Google of seeking to extend its dominance to devices like speakers, televisions and even smart cars.

Google has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

The federal case is expected to go to trial in September 2023.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)