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Judge Orders KinderStart To Pay Google's Legal Fees

Monetary sanctions on the grounds that its allegations were "frivolous"

     
10:02 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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In a written order dated Friday, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose sided with Google in two of its three arguments that KinderStart, a directory and search engine focused on parenting information, should face monetary sanctions on the grounds that its allegations were "frivolous." The court plans to determine the amount of the fees after receiving a report from Google identifying its costs

[news.com.com...]

5:56 pm on Mar 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Can you say ... "Dont poke the bear"
7:08 pm on Mar 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The lawyers win every time. No matter what the outcome.
7:24 pm on Mar 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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LOL, paying Google's legal fees. That should pretty much clean them out.
7:29 pm on Mar 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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250k?
7:36 pm on Mar 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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There's fine line between $250k and $1 million when you're talking about multiple $700/hr lawyers, 1000's of research hours etc.

[edited by: walkman at 7:38 pm (utc) on Mar. 23, 2007]

7:37 pm on Mar 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yea, It sure will. If he does not pay up he probally will be barred.
7:44 pm on Mar 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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If you read it carefully, you will note that the judge is not only holding kinderstart responsible, but the lawyer as well. Not that a lawyer that has to moonlight is all that wealthy to start with.
7:58 pm on Mar 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Poor kinderstart, I wish them luck.
9:00 pm on Mar 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The lawyers win every time. No matter what the outcome.

Not exactly... KinderStart's lawyer is on the hot seat as the judge ruled he should have dropped some of the arguments. I think the judge is debating fining him?
9:11 pm on Mar 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm just curious how KinderStart is pronounced, does anyone know?
9:13 pm on Mar 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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"Poor kinderstart, I wish them luck"

That is a load of @#%! I think they are getting what they deserve, and I hope they go belly up!

If you had been on the receiving end of lawsuits that have no merit, and cost you a great deal of money protecting yourself, you too would be cheering the outcome also.

Back to Lurking,
WW_Watcher

9:14 pm on Mar 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I guess Kinder as in kind /nice. But, they should add a "Not so" in front or switch to KinderEnd given that Goog will close them down.
9:18 pm on Mar 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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who'se your daddy? :p
9:47 pm on Mar 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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They are on their way back up the rankings!
I show them at -34,892 out of 34,900 and climbing. )
9:58 pm on Mar 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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What I don't understand is why they are sueing Google and still using AdSense!
I think Google had enough reason to boot them, but well, seems they're showing some mercy.
10:37 pm on Mar 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Kinder as in kind /nice.

I think it's probably "kinder" as in the German word for "children" - think "kindergarten".

I find it reassuring that the judge called this suit frivolous - it certainly seemed that way to me. We would have a very strange Internet future if search engines had to maintain their rankings once given!

2:30 am on Mar 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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good catch tedster...I completely forgot that angle.
5:20 am on Mar 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Google should show some largesse and not claim legal fees. Good PR for Google IMO.
7:45 am on Mar 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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>>>Google should show some largesse and not claim legal fees.

If they do, would it be best to keep it on the downlow so as not encourage more lawsuits?

8:34 am on Mar 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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>>so as not encourage more lawsuits?

Future frivolous lawsuits need desparately to be discouraged.

There's a breed of people who somehow think they're entitled to high search rankings no matter what they do, and if some of them think they can bulldoze an engine into reversing a legitimate decision made based on violation of their quality standards by groundless litigation, that kind of frivolous and wasteful action needs to be heavily sanctioned.

There's NO reason whatsoever why Google has had to go through the expense of dealing with this malicious, retaliatory backlash.

Sorry, but self-righteous "Mom & Pop's" who aren't "professional SEOs" might not be aware that they're trying to manipulate like any garden-variety search engine spammer, but in reality, that doesn't make what they're doing any different. It takes less than 60 seconds to catch what kind of PR manipulation was being done, and it's still being done - which would wash out any argument of lack of intent.

3:54 pm on Mar 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Google won't get any significant compensation anyways. KinderStart is an incorporated business, and it's a low-traffic website monetized by AdSense. They probably haven't earned even $250,000 since inception.
4:51 am on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Why all the big legal fees? It's standard for the losing party to pay legal fees of opposing counsel, of course, but why wasn't this frivolous suit dismissed at the start?

p/g

5:09 am on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It was. You need to read the whole story.
5:12 am on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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>> Why all the big legal fees? It's standard for the losing party to pay legal fees of opposing counsel, of course, but why wasn't this frivolous suit dismissed at the start?

I don't think this is the case in US, expect in (clearly, as determined by a judge frivolous cases

5:54 am on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I was stating.

Please, read:

Judge dismisses suit over Google ranking
[news.com.com...]

Fogel dismissed KinderStart's allegations for a first time last summer but allowed the company to revise its complaint and present a new set of oral arguments during the fall.

In that point Kinderstart had the oportunity to think, "ok, well, it seems we're overreacting" and drop the case, but they didn't.

4:59 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I remember when this Kinderstart lawsuit story first broke and people were suggesting it was cheap publicity, I guess not so cheap.
7:55 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Kinderstart still runs the Adsense. Seems they would have switched to YPN or something if they are that disgruntled.
10:19 pm on Apr 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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As I understand it (I am not a lawyer) newspapers and other publishers were getting constantly sued by people who didn't like what was published about them. Publishers successfully claimed that this legal harassment was interfering with their right to free speech. Courts then allowed publishers attacked by suits subsequently found to be frivolous to recover for their legal costs.

Google and other search engines have been legally determined to be "publishers" and therefore have complete editorial rights to manipulate search results in any manner including banning of sites they don't like or find competitive, or use of site-unique bias to suppress ranking of any individual site for any reason. The court reaffirms their right to do that and punishes Kinderstart for suggesting otherwise.

The Court's order is at: [claranet.scu.edu...]

However, I agree that something is wrong if it takes a court a year and beaucoup hearings just to determine that the suit is frivolous.

Kinderstart was making many claims against Google. One of the claims was that Google's PageRank as published in the Google ODP directory clone was a knowingly false derogatory statement about Kinderstart and other sites that were manually editorially selected for banning or suppression via site-unique bias. Such editorial selection reduced the PageRank that would have been displayed had the site not been manually selected for banning or suppression. Google tells search users that PageRank is an "honest" assessment of the site's value and strongly suggests it is entirely automatically developed. There is no suggestion that they arbitrarily, editorially fiddle with PageRank.

The Court seems to be saying that this particular claim was denied because of technical defects in the pleading that were not corrected even given a second opportunity. Subsequent valid claims could apparently be made by someone else.

Google seems to be gradually discontinuing their ODP directory clone, which has apparently not been updated since 2005 and is therefore very stale and essentially useless. The toolbar, used by a small number of users, is the only remaining place where PageRank is displayed to search users. Google could easily fix this problem by putting a note in the toolbar and directory documentation that says that PageRank is a partly editorial value judgement. Virtually nobody would read the note and everybody would be legally happy. At least for now.

12:00 am on Apr 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I think the claim was frivolous because it contained very little factors that hadn't already been ruled upon in previous cases with google. Its a waste of everyone's time to argue something where a ruling has been previously made. If a company or organisation is continuely asked to defend an accusation they have previously successfully defended then it would be fair to call the claim frivolous and to ignore previous rulings is just plain stupid.
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