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Nigerian Company Sues OLPC

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the split-shift-key dept.

Patents 277

d0ida writes on the continuing troubles at the OLPC Association. Adding to the recent difficulties — the BBC has picked up the litany — a US-based, Nigerian-owned company has now filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against OLPC. Lagos Analysis Corp. claims that OLPC "made unauthorized use of LANCOR's multilingual keyboard technology invention in XO laptops." The suit was filed in Lagos.

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Wow... (1)

Double_Duo_Decimal (1104907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501347)

Like the OLPC needs more road blocks.

Re:Wow... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21501711)

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          T                        T
          X  I Like Ponies!!!111!  X
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  /   O O\   }} \ ,'---'\___\      X
/        \                         X
/ _    \   \ LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
  I\____\   \        TT
  I I I I\__/        II
   \I_I_I/_         _II
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            \----- i_IIO
             \       LL

Please control the human population, have sex with ponies!

01001000 01100101 01101100 01110000 01100011 01101111 01101110 01110100 01110010 01101111 01101100 01110100 01101000 01100101 01101000 01110101 01101101 01100001 01101110 01110000 01101111 01110000 01110101 01101100 01100001 01110100 01101001 01101111 01101110 00101100 01101000 01100001 01110110 01100101 01110011 01100101 01111000 01110111 01101001 01110100 01101000 01100001 01110000 01101111 01101110 01111001 00100001

patent troll. (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501353)

Crush them. no quater can be given to these people

Re:patent troll. (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501985)

how the fuck is my comment a troll you morons?

The scams are getting more ridiculous every day. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21501359)

Patents. What will they think of next?

I guess the OLPC folks .... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21501361)

... could just ignore Nigerian law and be just fine. After all, it's not like many Nigerians obey anyone else's laws (much less their own).

Better yet, just don't send them (5, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501443)

As pointed out in a later post, the OLPC project in Nigeria is basically charity.

If they continue having problems like this, simply don't send any to them. Let LANCOR explain to the Nigerian government and people how their greed and abuse of patent law is screwing up the education of Nigeria's children and putting them at a serious disadvantage to the country's neighbors.

Re:Better yet, just don't send them (4, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501497)

As pointed out in a later post, the OLPC project in Nigeria is basically charity.

In a related article [zdnet.co.uk] , Gerald Ilukwe, the general manager of Microsoft Nigeria, said that the cost of software is not important, even though he admitted that the average annual salary in the West African country is only $160...

Re:Better yet, just don't send them (3, Insightful)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502229)

the cost of software is not important, even though he admitted that the average annual salary in the West African country is only $160

/cynical True, because no one can afford the hardware in the first place,

CC.

Re:Better yet, just don't send them (2, Insightful)

duggi (1114563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501761)

I don't understand the point in giving a laptop to a child yet.

screwing up the education of Nigeria's children and putting them at a serious disadvantage to the country's neighbors.
Seriously, Can anybody explain why laptops are so essential for education? Forget laptops, we were not supposed to use even calculators for those lengthy calculations in chemistry in out Undergrad entrance exam. Why then, are laptops so crucial for a child future? Figure this out: I am trying to solve a 1st order differential equation, I would like a pencil and a paper to work this out. NOT a laptop. I cannot how a 10 year old is going to learn maths or chemistry (for that matter, his local language) in a laptop.

Re:Better yet, just don't send them (3, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501827)

It's like having access to a huge library and the telephone numbers of hundreds of willing teachers.

Re:Better yet, just don't send them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21501975)

I also don't see a 10 year-old doing differential equations of any order, linear or not, homogeneous or not.

Granted, some parts of education is better off without the technology, but availability of technology doesn't hurt ... for the most part. i.e. So, you are not allowed calculators in your exams---how about if your professor told you you couldn't have them for your homework either?

Re:Better yet, just don't send them (0, Troll)

duggi (1114563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502033)

As I recall many sleepless nights, I wasn't "allowed" to use calculator. I sometimes tried to be honest, but most of the time, I wasn't. The point I am trying to make is that laptops are not necessary for elementary education. In some subjects it might hamper the growth of a student too. The pro's , if any, could be satisfied by having a computer lab. Similar to a library. The points in replies to my post haven't convinced me of a necessity , and no literature on the net I have read till now did. I still think it is a total waste of effort and goodwill.

Re:Better yet, just don't send them (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502275)

The pro's , if any, could be satisfied by having a computer lab

True, but that would also perhaps promote getting aquainted to effects of joint effort to an unwanted degree, whereas the one laptap per individual model does much less so.

I am not stating that there is any conscious intention leading to the situation.

CC.

Re:Better yet, just don't send them (2, Interesting)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502009)

> I am trying to solve a 1st order differential equation, I would like a pencil and a paper to work this out.

The equation is: dx/dt = x + cos(x * t)*sin(x + t)

Good luck. The reality is that the vast majority of 1st order differential equations cannot be solved with pencil and paper, and using numerical algorithms on computers is the best and most general way to solve them.

But even without this, you're totally missing the point. The student's computer wouldn't be solving the equation for him; it would be teaching him how to solve it. I'm not an educational professional, but I suppose one way might be to

  • present a (simple, pencil-and-paper solvable) problem to him, asking him to choose the answer from a list
  • based on his choice, either pat him on the back for being right or show him an explanation of why he was wrong

> I cannot how a 10 year old is going to learn maths or chemistry (for that matter, his local language) in a laptop.

Leave teaching to teaching professionals. They seem to think computers are useful tools in their trade.

Re:Better yet, just don't send them (3, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501851)

Let LANCOR explain to the Nigerian government and people how their greed and abuse of patent law is screwing up the education of Nigeria's children and putting them at a serious disadvantage to the country's neighbors.
that assumes the Nigerian government cares in the first place, they are after all a major part of the problem in regard to education in Nigeria.

Re:Better yet, just don't send them (4, Informative)

samwichse (1056268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501859)

I don't know that this company is actually abusing patent law. It seems like they have an actual invention (a type of keyboard + software that makes it easier to type in "weird" characters). The article even clearly points out that they have a product with this feature they sell.

Is that a patent troll? Doesn't sound like it.

I'm not sure about their choice of targets or especially their heavyhanded response to a charity organization though. I can only see this gaining them significant negative publicity and potentially torpedoing a good project.

Product Link [konyin.com]

Re:Better yet, just don't send them (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21501915)

their greed and abuse of patent law is screwing up the education of Nigeria's children and putting them at a serious disadvantage to the country's neighbors.

Naive Citizen of the World... You have NO awareness of geopolitics!

If they haven't bribed them, then LANCOR might well be a part of the government.

Nigeria's government will reward LANCOR for keeping their people enslaved to warlords as prostitutes and child "soldiers".

Re:Better yet, just don't send them (1)

initialE (758110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502017)

simply don't send any to them

If you do that, then they win. Big business and the nigerian government would arguably prefer their children kept ignorant and poor thank you very much.

Re:I guess the OLPC folks .... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21501501)

> and illegal reverse engineering of its keyboard driver source codes for use in the XO Laptops.

Why would any hardware manuf want to sell less? A keyboard driver? C'mon that's fishy. Some *cpu* company might have padded their pockets to throw yet *another* roadblock into OLPC's path.

Re:I guess the OLPC folks .... (1)

G-News.ch (793321) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502167)

Too me, this looks more like if someone in Nigeria doesn't WANT its people to get access to XO laptops/better education. Keep 'em stupid and they will obey, right?

So tempted (4, Funny)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501363)

to make 419 scam jokes, must resist...

This is good news (2, Insightful)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501381)

Maybe Nigeria can become known as a country of greedy patent trolls instead of just a country of internet scammers. As if there's any practical difference.

OLPC team -- don't get discouraged. As they say, if you're receiving flak, you must be over the target.

Re:This is good news (4, Insightful)

NoMaster (142776) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501567)

Maybe Nigeria can become known as a country of greedy patent trolls ...
Who says they're patent trolls?

They might actually have a point. It's not like they've sat on this for years - the public release of OLPC laptops is so recent that it's entirely conceivable that it's taken this long to examine them, document any violations, and file suit. And who knows what behind-the-scene negotiations, which may have delayed filing, have taken place between them and OLPC?

Is it just that the OLPC, being "free" and "open" and using Linux and all, are considered by /. groupthink to automatically be in the right? Or are people suggesting that all patent owners are patent trolls? (A position with which I would largely agree, BTW.)

Sorry, not picking on you specifically - you're just the first in thread to mention the words "patent troll".

Re:This is good news (3, Insightful)

Lachlan Hunt (1021263) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501747)

Or are people suggesting that all patent owners are patent trolls? (A position with which I would largely agree, BTW.)

Not all patent owners are patent trolls. Only those that use their patents to sue people and get in the way of progress and innovation.

Re:This is good news (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501767)

Ha! So patent owners who do nothing with their patents are ok with you but the others are not? Cause that's what patents are for, suing people to stop progress and innovation.

Re:This is good news (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501925)

Good patents, which are getting fewer everyday, are designed to help innovation. A company innovates and patents then the company is paid by companies that want use their innovation. If these companies don't want to pay for use then they'll try to innovate themselves. Otherwise a company would innovate then their competition would use the innovation without the cost of R&D. It would be cheaper to take ideas than to come up with new ones.

RTFA and change Nigerian to Swedish or Japanese and see how you feel.
Konyin keyboards are an actual product that is for sale. This is not a patent without a product.
Lawsuit states that keyboards were purchased and illegally reverse engineered. This isn't a lawsuit about your product sorta looks like mine. The extra shifts are pretty much a function key anyways.

Re:This is good news (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501935)

Yeah, that's the retarded world view where "innovation" means "work around a patent". In the real world, "innovation" means "build on the work of others" and patents are what you use to stop people doing that.

Re:This is good news (4, Interesting)

Alsee (515537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502083)

Lawsuit states that keyboards were purchased and illegally reverse engineered.

The only way that could be true is if Nigeria has a seriously defective legal system (quite possible), but even then the "truth value" of that statement would only exist within Nigeria.

Like someone who illegally wears a t-shirt that says "Vote".

The phrase "illegally reverse engineered" only weighs in favor of a case of this company being a "patent troll", it is not an argument to refute that label.

A further note is that all uses of the word "invention" appear to false. According to the article this is a design patent. At least in US law, design patents are not for new useful inventions, design patents are not for functional aspects, design patents are for aesthetic and ornamental aspects. Design patents are about "our product looks cool and distinctive". Design patents are trivial to work around, you just change the shape or arrangement of your product to any of a zillion other equally reasonable equally functional looks.

...ok a little Googling and yes Nigerian RD#### patent are "Registered Design" patents. This is not an invention patent, this is an ornamental design patent. It also turns out that there is no official website to look up Nigerian patents, not only is there no website for it but the Nigerian Patent Office official contact point is a Yahoo email address.

This company is suing a charitable high-tech project to aid 3rd world children, and doing it based on an ornamental patent registered with a government operating from a Yahoo email address. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

-

Re:This is good news (4, Insightful)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501865)

They might actually have a point

They might in principle, but in practice, they don't. The OLPC keyboard differs from theirs, and there are decades of prior art in using multiple shift keys to reach multiple languages on one keyboard. Their keyboard is basically the "US International Keyboard" for Windows with the keys rearranged.

Re:This is good news (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502023)

If they have a nigerian patent, even if it's obvious elsewhere, OLPC might be infringing it locally. At least it's a patent on hardware, not a combination of mouseclicks...

Patent trolls even if you were right. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21501895)

The "innovation" behind their keyboard is that they have more than one shift key (you know, like having an apple key; or like a "microsoft" or "super" key) and that they use the shift key to add accents (you know, like a German or Polish programmers keyboard). This is something which is beyond obvious; has been done before. Is in no way original and anyone who sues over such a thing is a Patent Troll, no matter what way they carry out the lawsuit or how long they have spent negotiating. Now, whilst I have resservations about OLPC; taking this lawsuit as it is and carrying it out against against a charity and people who are trying to do their best to help education of poor children is sick. The people behind this (and I doubt that it's just the Nigerian company doing this) deserve long prison sentences.

Re:This is good news (5, Insightful)

garbletext (669861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501969)

It's a nonprofit organization. This company is literally robbing children, quite likely children from their own country. Maybe they're not patent trolls, but they're clearly assholes.

Re:This is good news (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501753)

Maybe Nigeria can become known as a country of greedy patent trolls instead of just a country of internet scammers

That term doesn't make sense. In any other field besides patents, the so-called trolls would be called "dealers" or "brokers". I'm curious--do you call your real estate agent a "land troll"? Do you think commercial Linux companies are "free software trolls"?

Re:This is good news (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502019)

my god please alt+f4 yourself right now to prevent your stupidity spreading across the internets.

Maybe (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502297)

Maybe they are going to get the names and e-mail addresses of the people who 'donated' to the OLPC and send them an e-mail telling them how one of their distant relatives died in Nigeria and their assistance is needed to settle the estate.

Re:So tempted (1)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501779)

Dear Sir

I am about to come in to 100 million dollars from a patent suit that I am sure to win.

If you will send me an advance of only ten thousand dollars, to cover some of my legal fees, I will give you 10% of my final winnings - 10 million dollars.

I very much hope we can work together.
Ironically, that's been pretty much exactly how SCO has sold shares and gained investment for the last few years. On top of everything else, they turn out to be variant 419 scammers? Life just doesn't cut them a break.

They hold the patent for first use (3, Funny)

Gumbercules!! (1158841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501371)

... for sending SPAM from the OLPC

Could someone explain why they give C&D orders (1)

Bazar (778572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501385)

I've never understood why they are given in most cases.

I can understand halting the sales of a product when you have a competing product, like amazon and all the VoIP sueing.

But what do they gain when they are a patent troll? If they going to be awarded damages, wouldn't the more they have sold, inflate the settlement?

Or do they do it simlpy as bargaining chip. If thats the case, why do judges so freely give them out?
Or is there another reason to it?

Re:Could someone explain why they give C&D ord (1)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501409)

Like maybe a certain company that got handed its nuts in small brown paper bag recently gave them the idea?

Re:Could someone explain why they give C&D ord (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502039)

If they going to be awarded damages, wouldn't the more they have sold, inflate the settlement?

When you sue someone you have an obligation to mitigate the damages. You're supposed to be righting a wrong, not milking it.

The Lesson? (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501391)

One should be extremely careful when distributing technology in other countries. You never know when some screwy patent will foul things up no matter what your intention.

But seriously, can't a company appreciate a beneficial product? Or will greed always stand in the way of helping others?

Re:The Lesson? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501417)

But seriously, can't a company appreciate a beneficial product? Or will greed always stand in the way of helping others?

Yes. And yes.

Re:The Lesson? (1)

HiggsBison (678319) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501493)

But seriously, can't a company appreciate a beneficial product? Or will greed always stand in the way of helping others?

No good deed goes unpunished.

A _little_ more info on this. (5, Funny)

robbak (775424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501397)

http://www.olpcnews.com/hardware/keyboard/olpc_patent_infringement_scam.html [olpcnews.com] I like how the Nigerian patent office has an @yahoo email address!! Prepare for things to start getting wierd.

Re:A _little_ more info on this. (2, Informative)

d0ida (1195115) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501469)

Check out the comments on that OLPC News article. There are links to more details of both designs.

But they'll settle.... (2, Funny)

saxoholic (992773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501399)

They'll call off the lawsuit if they receive 20 laptops within the next 2 weeks, and will pay OLPC $5000 on receipt of said laptops...

Boy, did they pick the wrong mark (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501401)

Eben Moglen, invalidator of bioscience patents filed by his own university ("that is what tenure is for") is a public ally of the OLPC. I suspect he'll not only invalidate their patent, he'll drive em one step from bankruptcy.

Re:Boy, did they pick the wrong mark (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21501661)

Ah yes, according to the Open Source SlashSheep, Eben Moglen is a God, and what he says is so.

Re:Boy, did they pick the wrong mark (4, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501713)

umm, among US lawyers he's considered a big wheel too ya know. He clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall. He defended Phil Zimmermann in the investigation of PGP by the spooks in the US government. And he's a tenured law professor. If you're going to take free legal advice from anyone, you could do a heck of a lot worse.

Re:Boy, did they pick the wrong mark (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502113)

he'll drive em one step from bankruptcy

You mean the company? Or the Nigerian patent office?

The latter would probably be easier, I doubt the former are run from Yahoo email. [wipo.int]

-

Re:Boy, did they pick the wrong mark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21502197)

Eben Moglen, invalidator of bioscience patents ... [will] not only invalidate their patent, he'll drive em one step from bankruptcy.

And then, in a stunning move he'll use the keyboard to lead the court in a rousing refrain of his big 80's hit, O-L-P-C U And Sometimes Y!

Wait, what? Moglen? Not Ozn? Sorry, bad kraftwerk on my part. Carry on...

OR hit them with open source patents (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502317)

There are open source patent portfolios [wired.com] which have been accumulated specifically to defend open source projects. I am sure that they infringe at least a few, perhaps more. Hit them with infringement suits and a cease and desist order for their products, and I expect they would quickly come to some bilateral licensing agreement.

Unless this is a company that stands to make more from "certain investors" than from continuing in their normal line of business, in which case we need to make an example by invalidating their patent claims and sue them for infringement of OS patents.

If LANCOR wins. . . (5, Funny)

idesofmarch (730937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501403)

Will they demand to be paid via Western Union?

Wow.... (2)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501405)

The purpose of the OLPC project in Nigeria is not to make a profit, but, basically, charity. OLPC is selling them at a loss there.

I feel this 1st class douchebaggery.

DEAR SIR (5, Funny)

v_1_r_u_5 (462399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501415)

LAGOS, NIGERIA.

ATTENTION: THE PRESIDENT/CEO

DEAR SIR,

CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS PROPOSAL

HAVING CONSULTED WITH MY COLLEAGUES AND BASED ON THE INFORMATION GATHERED FROM THE NIGERIAN CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, I HAVE THE PRIVILEGE TO REQUEST FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE TO TRANSFER THE SUM OF $47,500,000.00 (FORTY SEVEN MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS) INTO OUR ACCOUNTS. THE ABOVE SUM RESULTED FROM A PATENT INFRINGEMENT LAWSUIT, EXECUTED COMMISSIONED AND PAID FOR ABOUT FIVE YEARS (5) AGO BY A FOREIGN CONTRACTOR. THIS ACTION WAS HOWEVER INTENTIONAL AND SINCE THEN THE FUND HAS BEEN IN A SUSPENSE ACCOUNT AT THE CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA APEX BANK.

WE ARE NOW READY TO RECEIVE THE FUND OVERSEAS. IT IS IMPORTANT TO INFORM YOU THAT AS CIVIL SERVANTS, WE ARE FORBIDDEN TO OPERATE A FOREIGN ACCOUNT; THAT IS WHY WE REQUIRE YOUR ASSISTANCE. THE TOTAL SUM WILL BE SHARED AS FOLLOWS: 70% FOR US, 25% FOR OUR LAWYERS AND 5% FOR LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE TRANSFER.

THE TRANSFER IS RISK FREE ON BOTH SIDES. I AM AN ACCOUNTANT WITH THE NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION (NNPC). IF YOU FIND THIS PROPOSAL ACCEPTABLE, WE SHALL REQUIRE THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS:

(A) YOUR BANKER'S NAME, TELEPHONE, ACCOUNT AND FAX NUMBERS.

(B) YOUR PRIVATE TELEPHONE AND FAX NUMBERS -- FOR CONFIDENTIALITY AND EASY COMMUNICATION.

(C) YOUR LETTER-HEADED PAPER STAMPED AND SIGNED.

ALTERNATIVELY WE WILL FURNISH YOU WITH THE TEXT OF WHAT TO TYPE INTO YOUR LETTER-HEADED PAPER, ALONG WITH A BREAKDOWN EXPLAINING, COMPREHENSIVELY WHAT WE REQUIRE OF YOU. THE BUSINESS WILL TAKE US THIRTY (30) WORKING DAYS TO ACCOMPLISH.

PLEASE REPLY URGENTLY.

BEST REGARDS

Re:DEAR SIR (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501447)

You forgot the social security number, fingerprints, and your computer's password/IP address.

Re:DEAR SIR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21501621)

hey, thats pretty damn funny.

or not so much.

Re:DEAR SIR; MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21501719)

God I love Nigeria! What a fine country!

It's funny (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501435)

LAUGH!

zzzzzzzz

He's in Natick, only 19.2 miles from OLPC! (4, Informative)

r00t (33219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501441)

1 Timber Lane, Natick, MA, 01760, USA
phone 339-987-9249, fax 508-647-4702

Put that into Google maps and have a look.
It's a house on a 100 foot square lot.

If this helps (4, Informative)

GrEp (89884) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501455)

Some keyboard internationalization research I did a few years back:

http://www.public.iastate.edu/~crb002/ie574final.pdf [iastate.edu]

I bet it kicks their designs all the way to Timbuktu, which isn't too far from Nigeria :)

If we want to win some hearts and minds in the (1)

multiplexo (27356) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501475)

middle east we could buy 50 or 60 million of these and spread them out in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Oh, and send a few million to Cuba and Venezuela too.

Re:If we want to win some hearts and minds in the (0, Redundant)

StarWreck (695075) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501749)

that would be pretty funny. We'd give 50 or 60 million OLPC's to the children of the poorer middle eastern countries. The laptops would promptly be stolen by extremists from the children. The extremists would also promptly kill the parents of the children and then recruit the children to become suicide bombers.
 
  Then for the next 6 months the extremists would try to figure out how to use the OLPC's to post hate speech on the internet or how to turn them into missile navigation systems. In the end, they would only be able to figure out how to draw kitties in the included paint program. They're not very smart but they'll still enjoy the poorly drawn kitties.

Re:If we want to win some hearts and minds in the (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502003)

Maybe they'd learn about open source and commit a jihad on Microsoft, we can't lose!!

what this is (4, Informative)

r00t (33219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501503)

First of all, it's a design patent. It's not a utility patent. Design patents are used for stuff like the flowers on the handles of your silverware. (why that isn't done with copyright I don't know) Design patent rules are different from utility patent rules.

It's about using two extra shift keys for the non-ASCII characters. On his keyboard, he calls them "Shift2" and "Ng". This is a nice way to do languages that use the latin alphabet with a few abnormal extra characters.

It's not like the mode switch key used for Arabic. There, you press the key once to switch modes. (more like a caps lock)

It's not like the dead keys often used for European accents. There, you press an accent key followed by a letter key. The accent key does nothing until you press the letter.

It's not like the combining accent keys used in Microsoft Word. There, you press the accent key after the letter key. (so the software must display your "A" before knowing if it needs an accent)

It's not like the fancy stuff used for Chinese, etc.

He's claiming that two keyboard layouts are in violation. The first one is Nigerian, now used for all of western Africa. The second one is "US International", which is QWERTY plus stuff like the Euro and various odds and ends.

Re:what this is (4, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501825)

It's about using two extra shift keys for the non-ASCII characters. On his keyboard, he calls them "Shift2" and "Ng". This is a nice way to do languages that use the latin alphabet with a few abnormal extra characters.

It's not like ...

It's not like ...

It's not like...

It's not like ...


But it *is* like CTRL and ALT, except that they're just for generating characters rather than calling arbitrary functions.

(Btw, anyone who refers to a new interface for accessing more characters from the same keys as "technology" is an idiot.)

Re:what this is, Space Cadets... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21502059)

GOLLYgosh-WOW, Captain Future, it's the Meta Key...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space-cadet_keyboard [wikipedia.org] !

I call Prior Art! (is that meaningful in Nigeria? I have no idea...)

BTW, the linked "article" seemed mostly a singing-of-praises for the ..er.. World Class Innovators Who Were So FOULY Wronged..

Re:what this is (1)

supervillainsf (820395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502221)

If I remember correctly (it's been close to 10 years since I used one) even the IBM Wheelwriter electric typewriter has similar functionality for special characters. I think they called it the code key. Plus, since you obviously looked at the website, it should have been obvious that the photo of each regions keyboard is the same with some hackitty hack hack photoshop work done on it to hide the characters that are not available on that "model". Furthermore, it looks surprisingly similar to a keyboard I used with my DX66 in 93/94, obviously without the extra shift keys, but with most of the same special characters printed on it and available via other modifier key combinations.

56b9bde5410bce0266e795720aed5f1a (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21501529)

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I think I can help... (0, Redundant)

kwiqsilver (585008) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501533)

The Nigerian Patent Minister recently asked for my help in transferring a large sum of money to the US. I'm sure that if I ask him to, he can make this trouble go away. He has offered a very generous reward for my assistance. I'll ask...

Ooh...now it seems he wants to buy the car I'm selling, and he offered me $500 over what I listed it for (it's probably one of the money transfer expenses I had to wire him $5000 to cover), all I have to do is send the $2000 difference from the cashier's check he already had printed out in my name (what an fortuitous coincidence) to his friend.

I'm sure with our budding business relationship he'll help the OLPC project out.

reverse engineering under US law (1)

theMerovingian (722983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501541)


See here [chillingeffects.org] for a very nice review of US law regarding reverse engineering.

I wonder what "illegal reverse engineering" means under Nigerian law, seeing as how it is generally permitted in the US.

Re:reverse engineering under US law (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501725)

What's even more silly is that a patent is supposed to describe exactly how something works so people don't *need* to reverse engineer it.

Quick buck? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501573)

It looks like someone has seen an opportunity to grab attention and/or get some quick buck in a settlement. Remember guys, it's Nigeria!

Could be legit (5, Insightful)

SuperRenaissanceMan (1027668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501593)

From TFA: "LANCOR's technology named Shift2 keyboard technology has been used to create a new class of region specific based keyboards called KONYIN Multilingual Keyboards, which are currently on sale globally." I don't think you can be sure to call this one a patent troll. They are actually producing a product, not just holding a patent for the sole purpose of the suit.

This also means....... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502257)

Someone needs to start digging and see how many OS patents they infringe. That is what open source companies obtained their patent portfolio for in the first place (http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/2007/05/opensource_pate.html)

They will probably come to some bilateral arrangement if they are hit by a couple of hundred infringements and a cease and desist order themselves.

Patent Troll Hater for 2008 (2, Informative)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501599)

I am pretty sure there are only a few ways to do a multilingual keyboard. It should not be something that you can patent.

Not only do I think this patent shouldn't be valid but these guys are suing whats basically a charity organization? Please!

As far as "not listening to nigerian law" it should be noted that they have an american office and they are suing in american courts using manipulating the flawed american patent system

I think some of your presedential hopefuls should make patent trolls an issue and establish a policy to fight against them.

Well.... (1)

cyberjock1980 (1131059) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501603)

Although my first instinct was to call them a patent troll I will have to admit that they are at least filing the patent now. I really hate it when patent troll company x waits 5 years, THEN files for patent infringement. Granted, I'm not thoroughly familiar on their patent nor Nigerian law, but these guys do deserve some credit for at least trying to defend their own patents. I still hate them, but at least they're filing now and not in 5 years like quite a few other patent trolls do.

I guess the old proverb is still true... (4, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501615)

No good deed goes unpunished.

Smells like M$ (0)

filbranden (1168407) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501687)

Smells like M$ trying desesperately to throw more FUD on the OLPC project... it's not like they haven't bribed [slashdot.org] companies in Nigeria before.

They might have a point (1)

Captain Sensible (141639) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501695)

US patent law is unique. Nigerian law is similar to most Commonwealth law; patent law is closer to European Community law. The same applies to reverse engineering. Just because its legal in the US does not mean that its legal anywhere else.

Re:They might have a point (1)

DanMc (623041) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501961)

I have doubts that they actually reverse engineered the driver from this company.

Meta, Func, Shift, Alt, type combinations are fully supported in the X11 layouts already, and their use (you can create your own layout and match it up to scancodes to do whatever you want, then paint the tops of the keys accordingly. :)

There's very little reason to take this company's binary driver and reverse engineer it. Hardware is sold outright, not licensed (leased). OLPC is clearly not stealing the company's hardware design with 4 shift keys. There's 1 meta key on the OLPC which has a very strong prior art case for not being infringing, (I'm looking at my C64 here) so it looks like they are talking about the software that came with the keyboards that the OLPC Project bought)

Consider: You're OLPC, and you want to make Meta-E print out a certain character. You've licensed a motherboard with some keyboard serial UART on it, and that UART has a scan code for the meta-key. Do you throw out X11's keyboard drivers and layout files, reverse engineer this company's driver for their hardware alone, and put that in it's place? Or do you take the existing X11 layout files and put in the scancodes you want for meta-E and not do any special coding?

Now that SCO is toast ... (1)

timothy (36799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501697)

Pamela? Pamela, do you see that big bat symbol in the sky?

timothy

Translation error (3, Funny)

Dan East (318230) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501745)

There may have been a translation error, leading the Nigerians to believe OLPC was an acronym for One Litigation Per Child.

Dan East

Hmmm... Lagos (1)

RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501771)

Remind me not to incorporate any more businesses in Lagos; could well be Nigeria's version of our 9th Circuit.

My friend..... (-1, Redundant)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501823)

"I find myself in need of money to fight against the evil imperialist OLPC organization. I hold valuable patents on which they are infringing. For the sum $10,000 I will sell you half my company to pay my lawyers. Once the suit is settled the company will be worth 20 million dollars of which you shall own half. Please enclose check made payable to me."

Signed,

Cash

HOW much you want to bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21501829)

That microsoft is behind this???

the layouts are quite different (4, Informative)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501839)

Here is the US international layout for OLPC:

http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Keyboard_layouts [laptop.org]

Here is the Konyin layout for the US (you have to click on VIEW LAYOUT under UNITED STATES):

http://www.konyin.com/?page=home&menuitem=1 [konyin.com]

Maybe Konyin thinks that they invented making additional languages/scripts/special characters available via additional shift characters, but that's ridiculous; here is the Windows US International keyboard layout:

http://www.usna.edu/LangStudy/US-InternationalLayout.html [usna.edu]

See, lots of special characters via AltGr.

Nigeria != Niger (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21501853)

Whoever is tagging, I don't know if it's an attempt to make a race joke or what, but Niger and Nigeria are two separate places.

Re:Nigeria != Niger (1)

hc5duke (930493) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501901)

Whoever tagged that is such a Niger guy

They never complained... (1)

WoollyMittens (1065278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501871)

Strange how you never hear anyone complain about financial, medical and food aid going to that region. Is there any incentive for actualy helping that part of the world?

Prior art? (3, Interesting)

ozbird (127571) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501909)

How are the KONYIN keyboard's multiple shift keys any different to ye olde AltGr [wikipedia.org] key to access alternate - usually international - characters?

Go Figures... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501973)

OLPC, the current best proof that no good deed goes unpunished.

Dear Mr. Slashdotter (2, Funny)

SpeedyG5 (762403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21501995)

As lead council I am tasked with getting hard working folks for a class action lawsuit. In fact there is money to be paid out to all comers, now. For a small down payment of $10,000 you can get a share of the 15 billion we have currently collected. Please email me your personal information, social security number, payment information etc so you can receive a one time lump sum payment.

Bob Cummings Esquire
Nigerian Law Council Partnership Program
1 Important Legal Way
Sokoto Nigeria

How do you reverse engineer a keyboard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21502037)

What's the secret ingredient in mapping key presses to character codes?

Profit (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502191)

1. Design a Product 2. Get sued by a patent holder 3. Post to Slashdot 4. Slashdot finds all prior art for you 5. ??????? 6. Profit!

What a strange coincidence (3, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502269)

It strikes me as remarkably inconvenient that there just happens to be a company which is US-based, Nigerian owned and happens to have a patent on something which so directly affects to OLPC project. How many companies can there be which fit this description?

Putting my tinfoil hat on for a moment, it's not possible that this company is a stooge for Intel or Microsoft, is it?

It gets worse (1)

thebeforeguy (966127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21502305)

If OLPC somehow manages to escape LANCOR, I hear PARLACC has filed a suit in a Carkoonian court. Litigations would last 1000 years!
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