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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

DDC: Nigerians condemn TCIS over suit

Nigerians have condemned Messrs Technocrat Consult and IT Systems (TCIS) Limited for dragging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to a Lagos Federal High Court over claims that it invented the Direct Data Capturing (DDC) Machines.

They also said that it is an action tantamount to disruption of democracy in the country.

Leading the condemnation at the weekend was the Chairman, publicity committee at the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Mr. Tajudeen Ejilonibun, who described the step as inimical to the national development and Information Technology sector in particular.

He, therefore, called on those behind the suit to have a rethink, especially the political class to allow the digitisation of electoral system in the country.

He listed some of the advantage of allow IT to evolve in the 2011 electoral process to include cutting off the rigging methodology by scrupulous politicians and thuggery.

He therefore urged every well-meaning Nigerian to support INEC in this regard and standard against any other process that could scuttle the programme.

“Deploying IT in the political system would reduce a lot of stress for the country because it would take away rigging,” he said.

Reacting to the suit against INEC and three contractors, a Nigerian who gave his name as Abbas, decried the situation saying alleging that it looks like greed gone haywire.

“From what we can garner from reports, there is no way this company can be credited with what it’s claiming. How do you claim inventing wireless transmission of biometric data in 2010? That technology is already being used many years ago,” he wondered.

Equally, for Haruna Garko, the claim sounds fraudulent and definitely may have made INEC chief not to listen to such claims.

Just as Amon Joe, wanted to know if Technocrat Consult and IT Systems Limited was able to disclose their “special invention” to INEC at the preliminary stage of bidding and how they are sure that those other companies were going to “copy-cat” their invention in their design.

Additionally, Amon asked if INEC paid Technocrat Consult and IT Systems Limited for its consultancy services and what was their initial agreement, wondering if the firm has the capability to manufacture the machines that INEC has given out to those other companies.

In his comment, Wale Moses, said that the case may not just end in the country, because, according to him, Technocrat Consult and IT Systems Ltd may face a case of technology theft outside the shores of Nigeria eventually.

ITRealms Online recalls that the plaintiff had demanded N8 billion as damages, alleging 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 in the case before Justice Okechukwu Okeke of Federal High Court Lagos, the invention comprised of a portable and lightweight fingerprint apparatus, which could 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 alleging that its innovations covered by a patent registration.

ITRealms Online gathered consequently they asked 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 and inventor of the technique, and that the defendants’ DDC machines infringe on its device, thus seek to restrain the defendants and their agents from infringing on its registered patent on the device.

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