Faile tech group Unlockd discontinues its legal action agai…


Unlockd has been trying to finalise litigation funding for this legal action since its collapse in June.

Liquidators appointed to the company, led by McGrathNicol’s Keith Crawford, declined to say whether Unlockd was still seeking the funding, or if the discontinuance in local courts ends its litigation against Google.

Unlockd was originally due to lodge a statement of claim against Google last month but has received extensions for filing its claim. The last extension was due to expire on October 31.

A successful claim against Google offers the only chance of a return on the millions invested by media scion Lachlan Murdoch and former Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo.

Unlockd developed an app that offered consumers discounts on their phone bills by watching advertisements when they unlock their phone screen.

Unlockd’s plans to list on the ASX were derailed in April when Google claimed the app breached company policies and removed it from Google platforms such as AdMob and the Google Play Store.

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Unlockd won injunctions in Britain and Australia in May, preventing the removal of its app, but the company could not find fresh funding to replace the cash injection it was due to receive from the initial public offering and the company was put into administration the following month.

The company ceased business operations in July as there was “no interest from parties in a going-concern operation,” according to a creditor’s report.

Most of the company’s staff, including founder Matt Berriman, were let go at that time.

In a post to online site Medium in July, Mr Berriman blamed a “fear of Google and its potential imposition on acquirers” and the short time frame for a sale for creating a situation where the “true value of the technology assets” has been “substantially eroded”.

“By de-merging the technology assets from the company and litigation, my fellow Unlockd shareholders and and I have all retained our litigation rights to pursue damages for the significant financial losses that Google has caused,” Mr Berriman said.

Unlockd had burnt through the $50 million raised from investors to boost its aggressive expansion plans.

Mr Murdoch and Mr Trujillo invested $6.5 million between them.

Colin Kruger is a business reporter. He joined the Sydney Morning Herald in 1999 as its technology editor. Other roles have included the Herald’s deputy business editor and online business editor.

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