Nigerian Keyboard Company Suing OLPC for Patent Infringement

Illustration for article titled Nigerian Keyboard Company Suing OLPC for Patent Infringement

So this OLPC thing, it's not exactly everything it was supposed to be. It's being outsold by competitors and is falling far, far short of its initial goals. And now, to add insult and injury to what was previously only injury, a Nigerian company is suing the OLPC for patent infringement. That's a kick in the pants. An ironic kick in the pants.


Yes, Lagos Analysis Corporation has "filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division holding at Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria against Nicholas Negroponte, One Laptop Per Child Association (OLPC) and its enablers in Nigeria." What'd Negroponte do? Well, according to LAC, he reverse engineered and stole their multilingual Shift2 keyboard tech, which features four (count 'em) shift keys to allow for more fancy character typin'. Specifically, we're talking about these KỌnyin keyboards that are available globally.

In fact, Solicitor Ade Adedeji says that "The willful infringement of our client's intellectual property is so blatant and self-evident in the OLPC's XO Laptops. We will have no problem establishing the facts of our client's case against OLPC in any court of law." Yikes, Negroponte. Yikes.

I don't understand the finer subtleties of Nigerian court codes, but one presumes this is more lousy news for the OLPC camp. We'll keep you updated as to the results of this, the trial of the century. [MarketWire]


I'm A Different Bird

I knew these patent farms had little-to-no-shame, but suing a frikkin' charity?

What total scumbuckets.

@hughjass: Reverse-engineering and stealing code are two entirely different things. Reverse-engineering involves developing new code to replicate functionality, and has a long and proud tradition in the computer industry. Without it, there would be no Compaq, no Dell, no HP, no AMD, no Microsoft... Suffice to say, we'd probably all be using IBM PS/4s running OS/2 or what have you that couldn't do half of what we use computers for today.

Stealing code would involve actually decompiling the binaries or industrial espionage. The former is prohibitively difficult in the best of cases, and nigh-impossible in the worst. The latter is a rather weighty accusation to make.