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Legal News for Weds 6/5 - FTC vs. Meta, Trump Wants Gag Order Lifted, UK Adtech Lawsuit Against Google, and McDonald's Big Mac Chicken Case

Legal News for Weds 6/5 - FTC vs. Meta, Trump Wants Gag Order Lifted, UK Adtech Lawsuit Against Google, and McDonald's Big Mac Chicken Case

FTC vs. Meta, Trump's gag order, Google adtech lawsuit, and McDonald's trademark case.
A chicken running out of a McDonald's restaurant, pencil sketch.

This Day in Legal History: Denmark Becomes a Constitutional Monarchy

On June 5, 1849, Denmark transitioned from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy with the signing of its first constitution. This pivotal moment marked the end of absolute royal rule and the beginning of a new era of governance based on democratic principles. The Danish constitution of 1849 safeguarded civil liberties, including freedom of speech, assembly, and religion. It also curtailed the king's powers, ensuring that he could no longer rule by decree. 

A significant feature of the new constitution was the establishment of a bicameral legislature known as the Rigstag, composed of the Folketing and the Landsting. The Folketing served as the lower house, representing a broader spectrum of the populace, while the Landsting functioned as the upper house. This legislative framework aimed to balance representation and ensure a more equitable system of governance.

The constitution laid the groundwork for Denmark's modern democratic system, promoting the rule of law and the protection of individual rights. Each year on June 5, Denmark commemorates this historic event with Constitution Day, a national holiday celebrating the values and freedoms enshrined in the 1849 constitution. This day serves as a reminder of Denmark's commitment to democracy and civil rights, reflecting the enduring legacy of the country's constitutional foundations.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has accused Meta Platforms Inc. of withholding critical information during its initial reviews of the company's acquisitions of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014. These transactions were originally approved after varying levels of scrutiny by the FTC, but the agency now claims that Meta did not disclose key pre-acquisition documents. The FTC, which is currently seeking to break up Meta on antitrust grounds, alleges that this undisclosed information would have impacted its original decisions.

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is attempting to dismiss the case, arguing that its substantial investments in the acquired apps have benefited consumers. A Meta spokesperson countered the FTC’s claims by stating that Meta faces significant competition and that the company’s investments have enhanced Instagram and WhatsApp.

This isn't the first time Meta has faced allegations of non-disclosure; in 2017, European regulators fined the company for providing misleading information about the WhatsApp deal. Additionally, the FTC's recent filing accuses Meta of degrading user experience on its platforms by increasing ad loads and under-resourcing Instagram. The case, overseen by US District Judge James Boasberg, has yet to see a trial date set.

Meta Withheld Information on Instagram, WhatsApp Deals: FTC (1)

Former President Donald Trump has requested the judge in his hush money case to lift a gag order following his conviction on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. The charges stem from a $130,000 payment made by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to adult film actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election to keep her silent about an alleged encounter. Trump denies the affair and plans to appeal the conviction.

Before the trial began, Justice Juan Merchan restricted Trump's public statements about the case to prevent potential threats to the proceedings. Trump's defense argues that with the trial concluded, these restrictions on his First Amendment rights are no longer justified. During the trial, Trump was fined $1,000 for each of 10 violations of the gag order, which included calling Cohen a "serial liar" and criticizing the jury selection.

Trump, a candidate in the 2024 presidential election, claims the gag order is unconstitutional. His lawyer, Todd Blanche, highlighted that President Joe Biden and others have publicly commented on the case, while Cohen and Daniels have also continued to publicly criticize Trump. The judge has previously noted that public critics of Trump likely do not need protection under the gag order. 

The Manhattan District Attorney's office, which brought the case, has not yet responded to the request to lift the gag order. The case continues to attract significant public and media attention as Trump prepares for his upcoming campaign.

Trump asks judge to lift gag order after conviction in hush money case | Reuters

The UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has ruled that Google parent Alphabet must face a lawsuit worth up to £13.6 billion ($17.4 billion) for allegedly abusing its dominance in the online advertising market. The lawsuit, brought by Ad Tech Collective Action on behalf of UK publishers, claims that Google's anti-competitive behavior caused them significant financial losses.

Despite Google's attempt to block the case, arguing it was incoherent and strongly rejecting the allegations, the CAT has certified the case to proceed towards a trial, expected no earlier than the end of 2025. The CAT noted that the threshold for certifying a collective proceeding in the UK is relatively low.

This case is part of a broader scrutiny of Google's adtech business by regulators, including Britain's Competition and Markets Authority and the European Commission. In the US, Google is also defending against antitrust lawsuits from the Department of Justice and a coalition of states led by Texas.

Google's legal team maintains that the company's impact on the ad tech industry has been pro-competitive. The CAT's decision adds to a series of significant lawsuits against major tech firms this year, including Meta and Apple. 

Google has not yet responded to the ruling.

Tribunal rules $17 bln UK adtech lawsuit against Google can go ahead | Reuters

The EU's General Court has ruled that McDonald's cannot use the term "Big Mac" for poultry products after failing to use the trademark for such products over five consecutive years. This decision is a partial win for the Irish fast-food chain Supermac's in a long-standing trademark dispute. Supermac's initiated the revocation attempt in 2017, challenging McDonald's 1996 registration of the "Big Mac" name for both meat and poultry products.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) initially dismissed Supermac's request, supporting McDonald's use of the term. However, Supermac's continued to contest the decision. The General Court sided with Supermac's, stating that McDonald's did not demonstrate continuous use of the "Big Mac" trademark for poultry products within the EU for five years. 

McDonald's has the option to appeal the decision to the Court of Justice of the European Union. The case number is T-58/23 Supermac's v EUIPO - McDonald's International Property (BIG MAC).

No more chicken Big Macs - EU court rules against McDonald's in trademark case | Reuters

Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
The idea is that this podcast can accompany you on your commute home and will render you minimally competent on the major legal news stories of the day. The transcript is available in the form of a newsletter at