Court Fixes April 30 For Hearing In Suit To Stop Preparations For Forthcoming Elections


BEVERLY HILLS, CA, March 31, (THEWILL) -  Hearing in the suit to stop the preparations for the forthcoming  elections in the country,especially  the Osun and Ekiti elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been fixed for April 30 at a  Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

The court had refused  the application to stop the preparations and instead ordered the service of processes on INEC and two others in the  suit.

Presiding judge of the court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, who turned down  the  ex-parte application by the plaintiff, ordered service on defendants in the suit, to enable them file their defence.

The suit instituted by a firm, Bedding Holdings Limited (BHL) has the INEC, its Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as defendants.

The plaintiff is praying for an order to compel  the defendants to  comply  with the court's earlier judgement of January 28 and order it to  stop using  its  patented process of applying the Direct Data Capturing (DDC) machines for voters' registration for INEC's continued  voters' registration exercise preparatory to the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun  States and the 2015 general elections.

It will be recalled that the court had, in the judgment of January 28 held among others, that  BHL possessed a valid and subsisting patent right over the process of using DDC machines for voters' registration; awarded N17.

3billion in damages against INEC, Jega and others for right infringement and ordered that subsequent application of the process must be with the firm's consent.

However, INEC did not comply with any of the orders made by the court, a situation which made  BHL to return to the court with a fresh application.

The firm further argues that INEC and others have not only declined to comply with the judgement, but they have also commenced the deployment of its patented process for voter's registration as part of preparation for the governorship elections in Ekiti, Osun and next year's general elections.

Bedding Holdings therefore  prayed  the court to determine among others, whether, by the combined interpretation of the provisions of sections 2, 3(3), 19,25 and 26 of the Patent and Design Act 2004 and the subsisting judgment of January 28, 2014 the defendants could employ its patented process for its  continuous voters' registration exercise without the plaintiff's prior consent.

It is also seeking  an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants and their agents from further infringing on its patent rights by embarking on the voter's registration or production of voters' register in preparation for future elections without first obtaining it's consent.

It also wants  the court to nullify  the voters' register produced by the defendants, using its patented process, without its consent.

It further requests the court to declare that the continuous voters' registration exercise being carried out by INEC in preparation for future elections, without its (plaintiff's) prior consent amounts to an infringement of its patent rights.

It wants the court to declare that by virtue of the provisions of sections 2, 3(3), 19,25 and 26 of the Patent and Design Act and the January 28 judgment, the defendants cannot use the plaintiff's patented process for its voters' registration exercise.

BHL's Chief Executive Officer, Sylvester Odigie,in a supporting affidavit,  stated that this was not the first time INEC and its Chairman would violate the court's judgment.

He cited as example the continuous unathorised  use of his company's patented collapsible and transparent ballot boxes by INEC and Jega despite a subsisting judgment given on May 28,2013 by Justice Adamu Bello, upholding BHL's patent rights over the ballot boxes.