Win (for now) for app developer against Google

11 May 2018 by

Unlockd Ltd and others  v Google Ireland Limited and others (unreported, Roth J, Chancery Division 9 May 2018) – transcribed judgment awaited

Unlockd, an app developer, sought an interim injunction to prevent Google withdrawing its services. Roth J found that the balance of convenience was in the applicants’ favour. Their claim raised a serious issue to be tried and any action by Google to withdraw their platform would severely damage the applicants’ business. An interim injunction was granted.

Unlockd had developed a smartphone app which delivered advertisements to Android and other smartphone users when they unlocked their devices. The app was available for download on Google’s distribution service Google Play Store. Unlockd had entered into a partnership with Tesco’s mobile phone provider (Tesco Mobile). Tesco’s app incorporated the app.

Google contended that the way in which the applicants’ advertising service operated breached a number of their advertising policies. They informed Unlockd that they would withdraw their advertising service (Admob) and remove the Unlockd app from Play Store.

The applicants issued proceedings claiming abuse of a dominant position and applied for an interim injunction, arguing that removal of Google’s services would almost certainly be fatal to their relationship with Tesco Mobile, and that it would not be possible to replace that major part of their revenue stream due to the respondents’ strong position in respect of advertising.

Google argued that they should not have to have an app on their platform which was in clear violation of their published policy on which advertisers relied.

The full trial is due to be heard in July or September of this year.

Roth J granted the injunction. It was one thing to impede Unlockd’s expansion with new clients while litigation was ongoing, but another to disrupt a relationship which had existed over two years. If their app was removed from Google Play Store, the Tesco Mobile app that it incorporated would disappear as well, and that would potentially damage the relationship between the applicants and Tesco Mobile. Such commercial relationships, once damaged, are not easy to restore. In other words, if the injunction were to be refused, damages would not be an adequate remedy for the applicants.

Relying on the balance of convenience test as applied in National Commercial Bank Jamaica Ltd v Olint Corp Ltd [2009] UKPC 16, Roth J concluded that the granting of the injunction was less likely to cause prejudice if it turned out at trial that it should not have been granted.

Watch carefully the trial of this claim later in the year. It is not the first case where Google’s market position is being challenged because it seeks to impose terms which others regard as abusive of that position.

1 comment;

  1. Daniel Smith says:

    Rosalind, sweetheart – can you stop the Tories robbing our charity boxes.

Comments are closed.

Welcome to the UKHRB

This blog is run by 1 Crown Office Row barristers' chambers. Subscribe for free updates here. The blog's editorial team is:
Commissioning Editor: Jonathan Metzer
Editorial Team: Rosalind English
Angus McCullough QC David Hart QC
Martin Downs
Jim Duffy

Free email updates

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog for free and receive weekly notifications of new posts by email.




Aarhus Abortion Abu Qatada Abuse Access to justice adoption AI air pollution air travel ALBA Allergy Al Qaeda Amnesty International animal rights Animals Anne Sacoolas anonymity Article 1 Protocol 1 Article 2 article 3 Article 4 article 5 Article 6 Article 8 Article 9 article 10 Article 11 article 13 Article 14 article 263 TFEU Artificial Intelligence Asbestos Assange assisted suicide asylum asylum seekers Australia autism badgers benefits Bill of Rights biotechnology blogging Bloody Sunday brexit Bribery British Waterways Board care homes Catholic Church Catholicism Chagos Islanders Charter of Fundamental Rights child protection Children children's rights China christianity citizenship civil liberties campaigners civil partnerships climate change clinical negligence closed material procedure Coercion Commission on a Bill of Rights common law communications competition confidentiality consent conservation constitution contact order contact tracing contempt of court Control orders Copyright coronavirus coronavirus act 2020 costs costs budgets Court of Protection covid crime criminal law Cybersecurity Damages data protection death penalty defamation DEFRA deportation deprivation of liberty derogations Detention Dignitas diplomacy diplomatic relations disability disclosure Discrimination disease divorce DNA domestic violence duty of care ECHR ECtHR Education election Employment Environment Equality Act Equality Act 2010 Ethiopia EU EU Charter of Fundamental Rights EU costs EU law European Convention on Human Rights European Court of Human Rights European Court of Justice evidence extradition extraordinary rendition Facebook Facial Recognition Family Fatal Accidents Fertility FGM Finance foreign criminals foreign office foreign policy France freedom of assembly Freedom of Expression freedom of information freedom of speech Gay marriage gay rights Gaza Gender genetics Germany Google Grenfell Gun Control hague convention Harry Dunn Health HIV home office Housing HRLA human rights Human Rights Act human rights news Human Rights Watch Huntington's Disease immigration India Indonesia injunction Inquests insurance international law internet inuit Iran Iraq Ireland islam Israel Italy IVF ivory ban Japan joint enterprise judaism judicial review Judicial Review reform Julian Assange jury trial JUSTICE Justice and Security Bill Law Pod UK legal aid legal aid cuts Leveson Inquiry lgbtq liability Libel Liberty Libya lisbon treaty Lithuania local authorities marriage Media and Censorship mental capacity Mental Capacity Act Mental Health military Ministry of Justice modern slavery morocco murder music Muslim nationality national security naturism neuroscience NHS Northern Ireland nuclear challenges nuisance Obituary ouster clauses parental rights parliamentary expenses scandal patents Pensions Personal Injury physician assisted death Piracy Plagiarism planning planning system Poland Police Politics Pope press prison Prisoners prisoner votes Prisons privacy procurement Professional Discipline Property proportionality prosecutions prostituton Protection of Freedoms Bill Protest Public/Private public access public authorities public inquiries quarantine Radicalisation refugee rehabilitation Reith Lectures Religion RightsInfo right to die right to family life Right to Privacy right to swim riots Roma Romania round-up Round Up Royals Russia saudi arabia Scotland secrecy secret justice Secret trials sexual offence shamima begum Sikhism Smoking social media social workers South Africa Spain special advocates Sports Standing starvation statelessness stem cells stop and search Strasbourg super injunctions Supreme Court Supreme Court of Canada surrogacy surveillance sweatshops Syria Tax technology Terrorism The Round Up tort Torture travel treason treaty accession trial by jury TTIP Turkey Twitter UK Ukraine universal credit universal jurisdiction unlawful detention USA US Supreme Court vicarious liability Wales War Crimes Wars Weekly Round-up Welfare Western Sahara Whistleblowing Wikileaks wildlife wind farms WomenInLaw Worboys wrongful birth YearInReview Zimbabwe


This blog is maintained for information purposes only. It is not intended to be a source of legal advice and must not be relied upon as such. Blog posts reflect the views and opinions of their individual authors, not of chambers as a whole.

Our privacy policy can be found on our ‘subscribe’ page or by clicking here.

%d bloggers like this: