DDC Machines: Firm sues INEC,Others.

A Lagos-based firm, Technocrat Consult and IT Systems Limited, has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission before a Federal High Court in Lagos, challenging the legality of the award of the contract for the supply of the Direct Data Capture machines to three firms without its consent on a technique that will prevent multiple voting.

The three firms, Zinox Technologies Limited, Haier Electrical Appliances Corporation and Avante International Technology Inc, are also joined as co-defendants to the suit.

The plaintiff is 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 is also asking the court to hold that it is the original author/inventor of the technique, saying that the defendants’ DDC machines infringe on its device.

It also asked the court to perpetually restrain the defendants and their agents from infringing on its registered patent on the device.

In the suit before Justice Okechukwu Okeke, the plaintiff is demanding N8bn damages.

Lawyer to the plaintiff, Mr. Norrisson Quakers, had filed the action, claiming that his client invented the technique-portable telecommunication device used in biometric identification, and that it owned the patent right No RP: NG/P/2010/283 on the invention.

According to the plaintiff, the invention is a portable fingerprint apparatus. It 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 individuals being fingerprinted.

It also alleged 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 further alleged that INEC invited it to 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 innovations covered by its patent registration.

At the resumed hearing of the application on Wednesday, Quakers urged the court to grant him the permission to serve the court processes outside the jurisdiction on Haier Electrical and Avante International, which are based in China and the United States respectively.

Justice Okeke granted the request to serve the two foreign-based firms by courier and adjourned the case till November 30 for report of service.

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