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How Lancor’s $20m Suit Stalled OLPC Scheme

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The federal government has cancelled the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) scheme initiated by the last administration two years after it became the first country to order and pay for one million of the OLPC.

Dr Aja Nwachukwu, education minister, said that the scheme was discovered to be a ``white elephant'' project, a conduit pipe to siphon public fund,''

Nwachukwu said the ministry was working on other options to promote the deployment of ICT at all levels of education.

CommunicationsWeek investigations however revealed that the OLPC ran into trouble waters after Lagos Analysis Corporation (Lancor) insisted that it will press to conclusion its $20 million suit against OLPC for stealing its patented device, Konyin multilingual keyboards.

Apart from the damages, Lancor is also seeking a permanent injunction to prevent OLPC from continuing to unlawfully manufacture, sell, distribute or offer for sale the XO Laptop, and any other products infringing on its patent and using the illegally acquired keyboard driver source codes.

Ade Adedeji, of Adedeji & Owotomo and solicitor to Lancor told CommunicationsWeek that his client was piqued by flagrant infringement of its intellectual property.

OLPC is funded by a number of sponsor organizations, including AMD, Brightstar Corporation, eBay, Google, Marvell, News Corporation, SES, Nortel Networks, and Red Hat and chaired by Nicholas Negroponte.

Lancor had in November 2007 alleged that OLPC and the promoters purchased two Konyin keyboards and used them to reverse-engineer the source codes for use in OLPC's XO Laptops.

CommunicationsWeek gathered that Lancor holds in Nigeria a registered design patent # RD8489 for Konyin, an advanced physical multilingual keyboard technology using four shift keys and characters with combining properties to allow for direct access typing of accents, symbols and diacritical marks during regular typing.

Konyin's technology named Shift2 keyboard technology has been used to create a new class of region specific based keyboards, which are currently on sale globally

CommunicationsWeek also gathered that after a preliminary objection to the suit was struck out by a Federal High Court, Lagos, OLPC went to the Appeals Court and that no date has been fixed for the ruling.

Promoters of the OLPC said that its main objective is to empower the children of developing countries to learn by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child



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