American company Left Field Holdings, which owns a restaurant chain, has sued Google, accusing the IT giant of creating unauthorized websites to take orders for food delivery instead of redirecting users to restaurants’ official websites. Google denies the allegations and wants to prove its case in court.
The lawsuit states that Google employs the tactic “Baits and Spares”to force customers to leave orders for takeout or delivery service “new, unauthorized websites”. Such sites contain large “Order Online” buttons, which Plaintiff alleges distract and mislead users. Also, when customers click the Order Online button, they are redirected to a Google page instead of the restaurant’s website. There, customers can arrange delivery through third-party services like GrubHub, DoorDash, and Seamless.
The lawsuit alleges that Google places restaurant names on its pages without permission, ostensibly to do so “Deliberately enticing consumers to visit and interact with company websites”. When ordering through such a service, the restaurant receives a fee for the order, and Google receives a percentage of the transaction, according to the lawsuit. Google’s actions are unlawful, according to the plaintiff, because the company knowingly and illicitly uses restaurant brands to distract users from the official websites of catering representatives and to encourage them to place orders on their sites.
Google spokeswoman Ashley Thompson said of the incident that the plaintiff misdescribed the company’s product and also expressed the IT giant’s willingness to defend its name in court. “Our goal is to connect customers to the restaurants they want to order food from and make it easy with the Order Online button <…> We do not receive any compensation for orders or integration with this feature.”‘ said Thompson.