Upaid raises questions on IT practices with Nasscom

Written by Rachana Khanzode | Mumbai | Updated: Mar 16 2009, 04:51am hrs
UK-based mobile solutions company Upaid, which sued Satyam Computer Services in excess of $1 billion for a fraud and forgery case, has sent a rogatory to Nasscom, the apex organisation for IT companies in India, for legal help in the matter. A rogatory is a formal request from a court to a foreign court for a judicial assistance. The rogatory has been approved and sent by the Federal Court of Texas to the Delhi High Court, which will put forward the questions to Nasscom.

Upaid has alleged that Satyam provided forged documents to it in patents filing that eventually resulted in the company losing its patents infringement case against telecom giants Qualcomm and Verizon. Upaid had contacted Nasscom in November 2007 too and sought consel from them, but that went unanswered. Upaid then approached the court and took an approval to use Nasscoms testimony for evidence. Incidentally, former Nasscom chief Kiran Karnik is now the government-appointed chairman of Satyam Computer after the IT firms former chairman Ramalinga Raju admitted early January of a Rs 7,000-crore scam. Satyam is now in the process of seeking buyers for the company and companies like Larsen & Toubro, iGate, Tech Mahindra and the Spice Group are in the race, and so are some other top PE firms.

Through this letter, Upaid has raised questions with Nasscom regarding industry customs and practices followed by its members with respect to intellectual property. It has also asked Nasscom if it provided access to world-classcounsel and consultants to Satyam employees and for what purposes. It has also raised questions to Nasscom on how it safeguards the intellectual property rights in terms of transfer and sale and enforces these codes on its members.

When contacted, Nasscom president Som Mittal said, We havent received anything yet from Upaid. However, we will provide the required information if its important in understanding the industry operations. He adds, We are a trade and not regulatory body, but we do share best practices with our members and conduct various sessions, domestic and international, for them.

Although Upaid strongly feels Nasscom should answer these questions as it represents the Indian outsourcing industry, veterans feel Nasscom should not be involved in the case. Vijay Mukhi, consultant, e-corporate governance & e-security, DSK Legal, says, Its a completely commercial dispute and Nasscom should not get involved in it. Moreover, unlike ICAI that has been approved by the government under an Act, Nasscom doesnt have an authority to direct its members on any practices.