Google has downplayed the significance of the lawsuit filed against its Google Video service last week.

The company revealed that the video-sharing service was the subject of a copyright infringement case in a quarterly document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The complaint caught the attention of industry observers who believe Google might become the target of expensive lawsuits once it completes the acquisition of YouTube.

"This is a small lawsuit over a single video that appeared briefly," a Google spokesperson said of the lawsuit against Google Video. The company could not offer any additional details about the suit, according to the spokesperson.

Google launched Google Video earlier this year but the popularity of its offering has waned compared to that of industry leader YouTube. The same day the companies announced the acquisition, they both separately announced deals with a few content publishers to ensure their content is legally posted on the sites and to prevent the posting of illegal content.

Both sites enable users to post videos that may not be properly licensed and they have both launched initiatives to try to combat illegal content.

Google Video has a procedure by which copyright owners can alert Google that their content has been illegally posted. Google responds by quickly removing the content from the site, the spokesperson said.