Judge Declines Google Dismissal In Match Court Case

A federal judge in California has declined to dismiss Google’s contract breach counterclaims against Match Group for using alternative billing systems in violation of the payment policies. They found that the dating app maker’s arguments in the dismissal bid are posited on facts outside the record.

U.S. District Judge James Donato denied Match Group’s motion to dismiss the contract breach counterclaims that arose out of a sprawling antitrust litigation against Googlem which stands accused of dominating the app distribution market by requiring app developers to distribute their apps using Google Play Billing service and charging high fees.

There were two issues found in the dismissal bid made by Match on August 1st 2021, in which Match contended that Google’s counterclaims for contract breach “quotes only from its current payments policy and mentions only in passing that its payment policies have changed during the relevant time period.” 

On August 5th 2021, an email sent by Match’s general manager to Google was referenced. It said they will continue using an alternative payment system in light of Google’s decision made last year to grant extensions to its deadline for apps to exclusively use Google Play’s billing system. 

Match’s dismissal motion “indicates on its face that it is premised on facts outside the scope of the pleadings,” the judge’s order states. 

Match argued that they had complied with Google’s developer distribution agreement that allowed an exception to those apps that were selling certain types of digital content that could be purchased outside of the app in order to bypass Google’s payment system that charged fees.

While Google changed that policy two years ago to remove that exception, it extended the deadline for developers to comply with it, and allowed Match to continue using alternative billing methods until June 1, Match alleged.

“Google quotes only from its current payments policy and mentions only in passing that its payment policies have changed during the relevant time period,” Match said in its motion to dismiss. Furthermore, Match’s general manager already informed Google through email on Aug. 5, 2021, that it will keep using its own payment processing system in light of the deadline extension, Match argued.

Google says that in August 2021, Match’s general manager requested an extension. “To the best of Match plaintiffs’ knowledge, Google’s allegation refers to an Aug. 5, 2021, email from Mr. Foster to Google’s Brandon Barras.”

Match went on to say that even if the email wasn’t quoted, the judge can still consider the email at this time because it is incorporated in the search giant’s counterclaims and forms the basis of its false promise claim against Match.