updated 11:35 am EST, Wed November 28, 2007
OLPC Team Nigerian Lawsuit
The One Laptop Per Child project today was found to be the target of a lawsuit from Lagos Analysis over the XO notebook's keyboard. Known for short as LANCOR, the US-based but Nigerian-owned firm has filed the complaint in Nigeria claiming that the OLPC team deliberately reverse-engineered its keyboard driver code. By including multiple Shift keys to accommodate special characters in non-English languages, the XO violates LANCOR's own patents for a similar technology used in a dedicated international keyboard; the OLPC team bought two of the keyboards with the explicit purpose of stealing the technology inside, the Nigerian firm claims.
Neither the OLPC group nor its head, Nicholas Negroponte, have yet to respond publicly to the claims made in the Nigerian court, which LANCOR says show "blatant and self-evident" violations that will easily withstand a jury trial. However, the company also plans to use its US presence to sue OLPC in US federal court, potentially forcing the producers of the developing-world notebook to pay damages or establish royalty payments.