Failed MVNO Zer01 hit with $43m legal judgement

MVNO Zer01 may have made all the right publicity noises, but unfortunately nobody could make any calls.  The company – which promised unlimited voice and data tariffs using a proprietary VoIP app and various carrier backbone agreements – had promised to launch back in July 2009, but has now been slapped with a $43m legal judgement over "breach of contract, tortious interference with contractual relations and long-term profit losses."  The lawyers behind the suit, filed by marketing firm Global Verge, doubt they will see any of the reward collected, however.

That's because Zer01 have gone into even more of a stealth mode than they were in the run-up to their much-publicized launch date.  Ben Piilani, the company's CEO, has ceased all communication with his counsel and refuses to further participate in the case; he now has 20 days to file an appeal against the $43m ruling.

According to Global Verge's lawyers, they're now looking at what possible intellectual property could be seized from Zer01 in recompense.  "[Piilani] showed us the patent applications" Marquis & Aurbach lawyer Brian Hardy explained, "but anyone can pull together that without filing it so we don't know how much of that is legitimate."  Meanwhile some of those who had signed up with Global Verge to hawk Zer01 service are accusing the firm of running an elaborate pyramid scheme.