Sidley Austin partner brings StreetMap antitrust case against Google to Preiskel & Co

Sidley Austin partner Tim Cowen has joined technology, media and telecoms (TMT) boutique Preiskel & Co as an equity partner.

Cowen has brought with him to the firm a multi-million pound antitrust litigation against Google brought by mapping site StreetMap.

StreetMap is bringing damages claims against Google alleging abuse of dominance in the way in which Google operates its search engine. The case is conjoined with a similar claim brought by price comparison site Foundem and both allege that Google favours its own products over those third parties.

The case will begin with a hearing on 2 November and was featured in The Lawyer’s Top 20 cases of 2015 (19 January 2015).

Cowen picked up the StreetMap case at Sidley and instructed Brick Court Chambers’ Mark Hoskins QC, Maya Lester and David Bailey. The legal line-up for the trial will not change following Cowen’s move.

Speaking about bringing the case to Preiskel, Cowen said the “transition has been easy”, and he could offer his client “a more specialist service” thanks to Preiskel’s team of technology and media specialist lawyers and barristers.

Cowen focused on EU and UK competition law and EU regulatory law at Sidley. He was previously general counsel and head of competition law at BT where he led claims for damages against Deutsche Telecom, Telecom Italia and Telefónica. He also sits as a judge at the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

Cowen worked with Ronnie Preiskel during his time at BT. He told The Lawyer he was “impressed with what Preiskel has done with the firm”.

“Preiskel has established a really good reputation for working with major law firms and shown that a specialist set of skills means you can create a strong team working alongside big firms,” Cowen said.

Preiskel of counsel and head of media David Allen Green said Cowen’s hire was a “major coup” for the growing firm, and was part of its strategy to “develop as a leading TMT boutique”.

Preiskel recently moved from its shared office with Charles Russell Speechlys on Fleet Place to 4 King’s Bench Walk in the Temple, making it the only firm in the area dominated by barristers’ chambers.

There is a growing trend for devloping small competition law firms, as the full-service model becomes increasingly expensive and clients turn to specialists for advice on complex high-stakes litigation.

Former global head of antitrust Clifford Chance Oliver Bretz left the magic circle firm in December to launch competition boutique Euclid Law (8 December 2014), while Oliver Fréget, previously co-head of Allen & Overy’s global antitrust group, left the firm in May 2014 to launch Paris competition boutique Cabinet Fréget.