Young Kenyan Student Innovators Takes Nokia to Court

Posted In Gizmos, Mobile Mtaa - By Tech Mtaa On Friday, October 15th, 2010 With 12 Comments

Two Kenyan University of Nairobi students are not taking Nokia stealing their invention lightly. This week, through Milimani COmmercial courts in Nairobi, the students have sued Nokia for exploitation of their innovation. As you can remember when Nokia’s Vice-President, Rick Simonso, was in Nairobi to launch some phones and also the pedal charger /bicycle charger.

Nokia Bicycle Charger Kit gallery2 604x604 Young Kenyan Student Innovators Takes Nokia to Court

We contacted Nokia about the alleged theft. We managed to talk to Nokia communication staffers in EMEA HQ but the local head of communication, Dorothy Ooko, has become arrogant and aloof. She has resorted to bribing bloggers and Tech scribes through phone gifts and selective invitation to Nokia events with the hope of containing criticism since she hopes to get backings from bloggers who are in her pocket.

Rick Simonson said that the launch of the bicycle charger came after years of research to determine the needs of users in emerging markets. But we dont dispute that. What we actually dispute and stand by is that Pascal and Murimi were the first to apply for the patent locally and so for Nokia to use the product in Kenya, they must recognise Pascal and Murimi. PERIOD.

Pascal Katana and Jeremiah Murimi who have just completed their 5 years degree from University of Nairobi, coincidentally completed work on their version also the week of Nokia launching the charger locally.

The students have initiated the legal war and the case is before Judge Muga Apondi accusing Nokia of unauthorised exploitation of their innovation for commercial gain. Pascal Katana and Jeremiah Murimi are being represented by Ombati Omwanza and the hearing of the case is set to start on October 25th.

Pascal and Murimi filed the patent application on August 17th 2009 and it is still pending at Kenya Industrial Property Institute.  Lawyer Omwanza told the court, “The defendant being a large scale company is using its dominant position in wrongfully depriving the plaintiff from their innovation and skills”. The students innovation is known as smart charger and cannot fairly compete with the Nokia product.

The two studnets say they do not have a problem withNokai selling their product outside Kenya because they only have patented the product within Kenya.

“They can launch it in Tanzania or Uganda, we will not complain. But choosing Kenya as their launch destination is to spite us,” said Murimi

Kipi Senior patent examiner John Maina said the phone maker could have a case to answer when Katana and Murimi acquire their patent certificate. He he maintained that when the certificate is released, Nokia will have infringed on intellectual property and could be liable for damages.

The two applied for the certificate in July last year and, as procedure dictates, were given a notification of utility model certificate application number (000153) and the filing date.

“It’s a reporter from the BBC who advised us to patent our product before he could publish our story. We could not raise the required amount of Sh2,500 and he offered to help us saying the idea could be stolen,” said Murimi.
The two, both electrical and electronic engineering final year students, cannot institute legal procedures against anyone who infringes on their intellectual property since they are yet to receive the certificate.

Patent applications are normally published (the awarding of the certificate) after 18 months from initial filing date. Maina said they are not allowed to disclose the date when the certificate is to be released since the process involves discreet investigations.

The students maintain that they waited for Nokia to contact them after their complaints but they havent seen any sign of the same. Nokia has upped the game of bribery of local journalists and bloggers . The firm recently handed two bloggers Nokia N8 and also took one American blogger masquerading as a Kenyan blogger / developer to UK for Nokia Summit.

About - Blogger,Web 2.0 and Social Media Addict, Web 2.0 user, All around advocate of all things Tech. Current affairs is my Food.

  • Janerdj

    fight for your rights,am so dissappointed by the nokia officials who instead of promoting young innovators,and encouraging many more to do the same,congratulations for the good job, may God bless the work of your hands,

  • Dorothy Ooko

    You only contact me to send insulting sms messages. You use your blog to attack me and cast aspersions on my character. However l refuse to allow you to draw me into your pettiness.
    Professionally, you seem to be the one with a chip on his shoulder. You wrote me an email insulting other bloggers and discrediting them as being non-Kenyans. You seem to think you are the only true blogger in Kenya.
    FYI we have a media loaners scheme for those who are techie and need to experience our products before writing about them. We release over 50 models a year and this gives many journalists and bloggers an opportunity to test the devices. We also invite who we want to our events. You cannot force us to allow you to bring your pettiness to our events.
    Regarding the pending court case we believe that the claims are without merit and Nokia will take whatever actions are needed to ensure its rights are protected. We will not comment further on a case in court.

    • diana

      Dorothy as much as you’re angry, silence is always best. Now it just looks like you’re trying to defend yourself.

    • diana

      Dorothy as much as you’re angry, silence is always best. Now it just looks like you’re trying to defend yourself.

    • http://www.myafricancareer.net Alai

      Dorothy, Erik Hershman is not Kenyan. You can call saying that pettiness or whatever but see what you have written. You are so desperate in defending yourself but you end up looking like a very frustrated person.

      Techmtaa will never fear saying it like we see it. We dont have to please anyone.

  • Hillarykimani

    It is very sad but true. Robert Alai’s life a a blogger is over.

    Robert, you have become old, vain, senile and irrelevant in Kenyan blogsphere and the only way to remain relevant is to insult other people.

    It is the norm for tech firms to give Journalists and bloggers loans or discounts on products. It is not bribery. And it is common knowledge that you, Robert Alai is on Safaricoms payroll.

    Get over it. Age is finally catching up with you.

  • Waynegodfrey Kahiga

    kenyan judicial process might take long. My view is take it to a higher court since if she has gone to that extent she may end up even tampering with the ruling of the same
    wayne

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  • Matata

    Robert Alai you are very stupid but it is only a matter of time you will be dead meet, I swear

  • Matata

    Showing 5 comments
    Sort by Popular now Best rating Newest first Oldest first   Subscribe by email   Subscribe by RSS
    Dorothy Ooko 7 months ago

    You only contact me to send insulting sms messages. You use your blog
    to attack me and cast aspersions on my character. However l refuse to
    allow you to draw me into your pettiness.

    Professionally, you seem to be the one with a chip on his
    shoulder. You wrote me an email insulting other bloggers and
    discrediting them as being non-Kenyans. You seem to think you are the
    only true blogger in Kenya.
    FYI we have a media loaners scheme for those who are techie and
    need to experience our products before writing about them. We release
    over 50 models a year and this gives many journalists and bloggers an
    opportunity to test the devices. We also invite who we want to our
    events. You cannot force us to allow you to bring your pettiness to our
    events.

    Regarding the pending court case we believe that the claims are
    without merit and Nokia will take whatever actions are needed to ensure
    its rights are protected. We will not comment further on a case in
    court.

    Flag
    3 people liked this. Like Reply Reply

    diana 7 months ago in reply to Dorothy Ooko
    Dorothy as much as you’re angry, silence is always best. Now it just looks like you’re trying to defend yourself.
    Flag
    2 people liked this. Like Reply Reply

    Alai 7 months ago in reply to Dorothy Ooko

    Dorothy, Erik Hershman is not Kenyan. You can call saying that
    pettiness or whatever but see what you have written. You are so
    desperate in defending yourself but you end up looking like a very
    frustrated person.

    And who is more petty than Dorothy Ooko? When
    you are confronted with real issues, you will resort to cheap snides
    and remarks and you think that when challenged on your very primitive
    ways of dealing with professional matters then the person who is asking
    is primitive. We will continue asking. You can take it the way you want
    but we will not relent in asking what we think we should ask.

    Others
    must be listed as petty for poking the unpoked just like Nelson Mandela
    was listed by US Congress as a terrorist for fighting the apartheid

    Techmtaa will never fear saying it like we see it. We dont have to please anyone.
    Flag
    1 person liked this. Like Reply Reply

    Janerdj 7 months ago

    fight for your rights,am so dissappointed by the nokia officials who
    instead of promoting young innovators,and encouraging many more to do
    the same,congratulations for the good job, may God bless the work of
    your hands,
    Flag
    2 people liked this. Like Reply Reply

    Waynegodfrey Kahiga 6 months ago

    kenyan judicial process might take long. My view is take it to a higher
    court since if she has gone to that extent she may end up even
    tampering with the ruling of the same wayne

     

  • Matata

    Showing 5 comments
    Sort by Popular now Best rating Newest first Oldest first   Subscribe by email   Subscribe by RSS
    Dorothy Ooko 7 months ago

    You only contact me to send insulting sms messages. You use your blog
    to attack me and cast aspersions on my character. However l refuse to
    allow you to draw me into your pettiness.

    Professionally, you seem to be the one with a chip on his
    shoulder. You wrote me an email insulting other bloggers and
    discrediting them as being non-Kenyans. You seem to think you are the
    only true blogger in Kenya.
    FYI we have a media loaners scheme for those who are techie and
    need to experience our products before writing about them. We release
    over 50 models a year and this gives many journalists and bloggers an
    opportunity to test the devices. We also invite who we want to our
    events. You cannot force us to allow you to bring your pettiness to our
    events.

    Regarding the pending court case we believe that the claims are
    without merit and Nokia will take whatever actions are needed to ensure
    its rights are protected. We will not comment further on a case in
    court.

    Flag
    3 people liked this. Like Reply Reply

    diana 7 months ago in reply to Dorothy Ooko
    Dorothy as much as you’re angry, silence is always best. Now it just looks like you’re trying to defend yourself.
    Flag
    2 people liked this. Like Reply Reply

    Alai 7 months ago in reply to Dorothy Ooko

    Dorothy, Erik Hershman is not Kenyan. You can call saying that
    pettiness or whatever but see what you have written. You are so
    desperate in defending yourself but you end up looking like a very
    frustrated person.

    And who is more petty than Dorothy Ooko? When
    you are confronted with real issues, you will resort to cheap snides
    and remarks and you think that when challenged on your very primitive
    ways of dealing with professional matters then the person who is asking
    is primitive. We will continue asking. You can take it the way you want
    but we will not relent in asking what we think we should ask.

    Others
    must be listed as petty for poking the unpoked just like Nelson Mandela
    was listed by US Congress as a terrorist for fighting the apartheid

    Techmtaa will never fear saying it like we see it. We dont have to please anyone.
    Flag
    1 person liked this. Like Reply Reply

    Janerdj 7 months ago

    fight for your rights,am so dissappointed by the nokia officials who
    instead of promoting young innovators,and encouraging many more to do
    the same,congratulations for the good job, may God bless the work of
    your hands,
    Flag
    2 people liked this. Like Reply Reply

    Waynegodfrey Kahiga 6 months ago

    kenyan judicial process might take long. My view is take it to a higher
    court since if she has gone to that extent she may end up even
    tampering with the ruling of the same wayne

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