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Firm Demands N2Bn from Etisalat Over Copyright Infringement

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Etisalat-logo.jpg

A mobile finance technology firm, V-Exchange Ltd has demanded for N2 billion from Etisalat as compensation for an alleged infringement on its product’s copyright.

V-Exchange which specializes in providing instant finance solutions to individuals and corporate entities via intelligent data driven platform claimed that the ‘Kwik Cash’ loan service which Etisalat offers to its customers was allegedly a stolen product.

Speaking at a media conference, co-founder of V-Exchange, Samuel Ajiboyede claimed that on November 23, 2016, he met with representatives of Etisalat regarding his company’s product and for the purposes of partnering with the same for mutual commercial benefits.

Ajiboyede stated that at the meeting, the loan service product was showcased to Etisalat officials who upon being impressed by the demonstration asked to be furnished with more details.

He also said he was advised by Etisalat officials to obtain the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) Short Code being the only thing remaining for a deal to be sealed between the two entities.

Ajiboyede further stated that subsequently requested for a Memorandum of Understanding from Etisalat to enable his company acquire a Value Added Service (VAS) license to get the Short Code approval from NCC but that the request was never accented to.

The company co-founder said he was however shocked when it heard that Etisalat had gone ahead to launch the instant loan service without its approval.

Also speaking at the media briefing, Chief Executive Officer of the firm, Mrs Kemi Ayinde noted that well wishers had called to congratulate her on the successful launch of the product not knowing that her firm was not involved with the launch.

This publication sighted a letter written by the law firm of Ubani and Co to the Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Nigeria dated January 10, 2017 demanding N2billion as compensation for the alleged copyright infringement.

The letter reads in part: ” Our client has tested your product on several customers of your company and confirmed that the said product was the exact product for which it has exclusive right

” that this abysmal unlawful conduct of your company as highlighted above has infringed our client’s products for which copyright subsisted despite the caveat by known owners being ‘our client’ that no part of this shall be reproduced or copied in any material form with its prior authorization.

”Moreover it is arguable that the product reproduced in writing by your company was exact replica of our client’s products which were earlier in time protected by the copyright law.

“In conclusion let it be stated that aside the civil action for infringement of our client’s copyright, we shall be constrained to simultaneously instigate and initiate a criminal action with its attendant legal consequences against your company for exploiting our client’s copyright as provided by the act.

“Therefore your company is hereby warned very sternly to refrain forthwith from further infringement of our client’s by itself or through its agents or privies and monetary restitution in the sums demanded above of its unlawful exploitation of our client’s products which copyright subsisted in order to mitigate the loss thus far.”

In its response to the demand for compensation, Etisalat via a letter dated February 21, 2017 acknowledge having had discussion with V-Exchange over its product but denied infringement of any patent belonging to the firm.

The letter signed by Vincent Eromosele, Etisalat Head, Legal Operations and Litigation and Chimeka Garricks, Manager, Legal Services claimed that ‘KwikCash’ is owned and operated by an undisclosed financial institution and that Etisalat followed due process in acquiring the right to use the product on its network.

Etisalat further claimed that KwikCash service was already in existence and operational prior to its meeting with V-Exchange.

The telecoms firm in the letter denied any infringement on V-Exchange’s purported patent and insisted it cannot pay compensation for infringement.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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NCC: US Delegation‎ Visits Commission, Lauds Regulatory Strides

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(L-R): Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, NCC; Rachel Atwood Mendiola, Manager, U.S Embassy; Engr. Ubale Ahmed Maska, Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC; Mudari Aliyu Dura

 

Nigerian Communications Commission NCC, Thursday, received a delegation from the United States Embassy in Abuja,

The team, led by Rachel Atwood Mendiola, Fraud Prevention Manager, United States Embassy, was received by the Commission’s Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive, Prof. Umar Danbatta and other top Management staff of the Commission.

The delegation was at the Nigerian Communications Commission’s Head Office to gain insight into the workings of the Commission and to commend NCC’s Management for its regulatory strides in sustaining the growth of the telecommunication industry in Nigeria.

 

Prof.Danbatta while addressing the delegation, recalled to the admiration of his guests some of the Commission’s efforts in ensuring effective regulation of the telecoms sector and providing an enabling environment for telecoms services to flourish, exponentially attributing the Commission’s successes to the faith reposed on it by the consumers and their unflinching loyalty.

 

And that is, the reason the Commission commits itself irrevocably to protecting the interest of consumers and all stakeholders in the industry.

He told his guests that, “NCC continues to be a strategic member and active participant in the activities of many bodies including the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), African Telecommunications Union (ATU), and the West Africa Telecommunication Regulators Assembly (WATRA).”

To demonstrate the resilience of the telecommunication sector even in the face of challenging economic climate, Danbatta stayed that the sector contributed about 9.5% to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product in the second quarter of 2017 and credited the Nigerian telecom consumers with the successes recorded because of their patronage.

The EVC/CEO of NCC said it is the faith the consumers have demonstrated in the sector that made the Management of the Commission to declare the 2017 as the Year of the Telecom Consumer to celebrate the primacy of the consumer and to rededicate itself to addressing the challenges of the consumer.

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NCC Ignores Telcos, Says No to OTT Regulation

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Prof Umar Garuba Danbatta, NCC’s executive vice chairman

Nigerian Communications Commission [NCC] has said it can’t regulate Over The Top Technology [OTT] for now, refusing the telecom operators’ call that the technology be regulated in the country.

 

OTT operators are firms like Facebook, WhatsApp, 2go, Instagram and others who ride on social media to reach their audience.

 

Prof Umar Garuba Danbatta, NCC’s executive vice chairman disclosed this Thursday when a delegation from the United States [US] embassy paid a working visit to the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

 

‘’ The operators are saying we should do something about the OTT. That the OTT is riding on their infrastructure to make money and all other. But it will be very difficult to regulate OTT,” Prof Danbatta said.

 

According to him, though NCC understands the operators’ plight ‘’ the truth is that there is nothing we can do for now’’.

 

The NCC EVC, said he had interacted with head of telecom industry’s regulatory agencies in US and some other advanced economies and he was indirectly told that OTT couldn’t be regulated for now.

 

He also said NCC couldn’t regulate content in the social media as this falls within the jurisdiction of its sister regulatory agency, the National Broadcasting Commission [NBC].

 

He also told the US embassy delegation which was led by Rachael Atwood Mendiola to convince US investors to come and invest in Nigeria’s telecom industry as this is the best time to stake their money in the country.

 

‘’We want investors to come and invest in telecoms infrastructure across the country. I believe they will make their money in no time. Our investment environment is becoming friendlier, our security has improved greatly and the Federal Government had promised some number of incentives for would-be investors.

 

‘’ Plus we still have access gap. We still have about 200 locations across the country yet to have telecom services. This has cut off about 40million people, including people in my local government in Kano. So, investors can come in and take this opportunities.’’, he said.

 

But he said the NCC was working to see the access gaps blocked in the next two years.

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Nigeria to Increase Mobile Broadband Subscriptions to 50% by 2020

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NCC headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria

By peter oluka

Nigeria has disclosed plans to increasing the current coverage of the active mobile broadband subscription per 100 from 20.95 per cent to 50 per cent by 2020.

This was disclosed by Mr Bolaji Akinremi, minister plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN, while delivering Nigeria’s statement on ‘Information and Communications Technologies for Development’ at the UN General Assembly’s debate in New York.

Active mobile broadband subscription is the number of subscriptions to mobile cellular networks with access to data communications – like the Internet – at broadband downstream speeds of 256 kilobit per second.

Nigeria’s mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants increased from 1.0 inhabitant in 2012 to 11.7 inhabitants in 2016.

Akinremi said Nigeria recognised the direct impact of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) on the wellbeing of Nigerians.

“The Government of Nigeria recognises the reality that Information and Communications Technologies has direct impact on the nation’s ability to improve the economic wellbeing of its people.

“The Government of Nigeria is committed to facilitating universal availability and cost-effective access to communications infrastructure and promoting utilisation of ICT in all spheres of life.

“Nigeria is committed to achieving cutting-edge global ICT standards, encourage rapid ICT penetration among all socio-economic levels.

“The Government of Nigeria is also committed to increasing the current coverage of the active mobile broadband subscription per 100 from 20.95 per cent to 50 per cent by 2020.

“Nigeria is committed to promoting and encouraging local production of ICT hard and software so as to reduce import dependence and generate foreign exchange by exporting to the regional and continental markets”.

He said that involving developing countries in the ICT revolution would bridge the wide gap of access to information among people.

According to him, if the information gap keeps widening, the possibility of attaining sustainable development by 2030 is not certain.

“It is in this vein that Nigeria further calls on Member States to consider giving Information and Communications Technologies a pride of place in the education curriculum. By so doing, they will undoubted bridge the digital divide,” Akinremi added.

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