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Lights go down at Silverbrook

Tuesday, 03 April 2012
By Print21

The highly secretive Australian MEM-jet research facility at North Ryde in Sydney has gone quiet with many of the highly skilled personnel reportedly on enforced holiday leave.

The grey-out comes shortly after the news that Silverbrook founder, Kia Silverbrook, is being sued in the USA over a $600 million investment.

A new company was registered on ASIC just over a week ago under the name Memjet R&D. It is unclear what relationship the new entity has to Silverbrook Research. Calls to the North Ryde facility were met with ‘no comment’, though
the company’s PR agent confirmed that staff layoffs have occurred and many employees are currently on holiday.

There is also no word on how long the researchers will be on leave or what is likely to happen when they return. According to some estimates there were upwards of 200 people employed at various time at the facility, which was classified as one of Australia’s largest R&D sites.

The move to send staff on leave follows Silverbrook’s return volley to the US-based investment trust, GKFF, last week through its PR company when it said the Kaiser lawsuit allegations are “entirely baseless and inaccurate, and will be defended vigorously by Silverbrook.”

The Australian company’s statement indicated that the lawsuit lodged in a US District Court in Tulsa, Oklahoma is merely an attempt by GKFF to take IP ownership and control of Memjet printing technology.

The Kaiser foundation is the controlling shareholder in Memjet after financially backing the development of the inkjet technology company to the tune of $610 million (A$574.9m) since 2004.

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