A Lagos-based firm, Technocrat Consult and IT Systems Limited has urged a Federal high court in Lagos to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to pay it a total sum of N8 billion over alleged infringement of its copyright in the award of the Direct Data Capture (DDC) machines.
The firm is challenging its exclusion from the award of the contract to three firms, despite the fact that it invented the device used in biometric identification.
INEC had awarded the contract for the procurement of the DDC machines to three firms - Zinox Technologies Limited, Haier Electrical Appliances Corporation and Avante Internaional Technology Inc.
Apart from INEC, the plaintiff also named the three firms as defendants in the suit before Justice Okechukwu Okeke.
The plaintiff’s lawyer, Norrisson Quakers, is claiming damages of N8 billion, insisting his client invented the technique -portable telecommunication device used in biometric identification, saying that it owned the patent right No RP: NG/P/2010/283 on the invention.
According to the plaintiff, the invention comprises a portable and lightweight fingerprint apparatus, which can scan and record fingerprint images in the field and wirelessly transmit the said images to a central transactional unit for the purpose of providing immediate identity and background checks on the individuals being fingerprinted.
It also alleged that INEC infringed on its patent right when it included the technique in the DDC machines contract, which was awarded to Zinox, Haier and Avante International without its permission.
The plaintiff further alleged that INEC invited it for a meeting at its head office in Abuja on July 27, 2010, claiming that all its commissioners were present when it gave a full demonstration of the technique.
It added that at the said meeting, it gave the full disclosure of the services it proposed to render to INEC, including disclosing its innovations covered by its patent registration.
The plaintiff is therefore asking the court to restrain the defendants and their agents from importing, manufacturing or distributing the DDC machines within the scope of its registered patent on the technique.
It further wants the court to hold that it is the original author/inventor of the technique, contending that the defendants' DDC machines infringe on its device.
The plaintiff is also urging the court to perpetually restrain the defendants and their agents from infringing on its registered patent on the device.
When the matter came up on Wednesday, Quakers urged the court to grant him the permission to serve the court processes outside jurisdiction on Haier Electrical and Avante International who are based in China and the United States respectively.
Justice Okeke then granted the request to serve the two foreign-based firms through courier service and adjourned the case till November 30 for report of service.