A  Lagos-based firm, Technocrat Consult and IT Systems Limited,  last wednesday  dragged the Independent  National Electoral Commission, INEC, to  a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, challenging the legality of the award of contract for supply of  the Direct Data Capture machines to three firms without its consent.

Other defendants in the suit  are the three firms, namely,  Zinox Technologies Limited, Haier Electrical Appliances Corporation and Avante International Technology Inc. Trial judge in the matter was Justice Okechukwu Okeke.

The plaintiff  is demanding N8billion as damages, claiming that it invented the technique, a portable telecommunication device used in biometric identification, and owned the patent right No RP: NG/P/2010/283 on the invention.

According to the plaintiff, the invention comprised of  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  unit  for the purpose of providing immediate identity and background checks on the individuals being fingerprinted.”

The firm  is contending that INEC infringed on its patent right,  when it included the technique in the DDC machines contract  awarded  to the three firms without its permission.

The plaintiff stated that INEC invited it for a meeting at its head office in Abuja on July 27, 2010, while its commissioners were present when its (plaintiff) gave a full demonstration of the technique and  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.

Sequently 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 also wants the court to hold that it is the original author/inventor of the technique, and that the defendants’ DDC machines infringe on its device. The plaintiff want the court to  restrain the defendants and their agents from infringing on its registered patent on the device.

At the hearing of the application, yesterday, the  plaintiff’s counsel 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.

The court granted the request to serve the two foreign_based firms through courier service and adjourned further hearing  till November 30 for report of service.

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