Nigerian Keyboard Firm Sues One Laptop Per Child Project

Computing

The One Laptop Per Child foundation is being sued over its keyboard design by the Nigerian-owned, Massachusetts-based firm, Lagos Analysis Corp.

Lagos claims the non-profit outfit illegally reverse-engineered their software drivers to make the OLPC keypad more accent mark friendly to foreign fingers.

The initial copyright infringement suit has been filed in Nigeria, and the company plans to press further lawsuits in countries where the OLPC laptop is being vended.

Lagos CEO Adé G. OyegbÍla said that the company's Konyin Multilingual Keyboard features four shift keys and a software driver specialized to more easily reproduce the uncommon accent marks found in Nigerian languages and dialects. Such diacritic ticks can be unwieldy in traditional keyboards, but are often essential to getting the right message through. (For example, OyegbÍla explains, without the dot below the "o" in Lagos CTO O. Walter OluìwÍleì's name, the meaning becomes "God destroys the house).

OyegbÍla claims that Nicholas Negroponte, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who founded the OLPC foundation, purchased two of the company's keyboards in 2006 and used them to reverse-engineer its keyboard technology. Negroponte is also named in the lawsuit.

Although the OLPC keyboard lacks the quartet of shifters found on the Lagos board, OyegbÍla claims the exact functionality of the "shift2" button was mapped to the XO's "alt gr."

Daily Trust