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Safaricom sued for ‘stealing’ its music streaming app Songa from a Kenyan web developer

by Milicent Atieno
songa by safaricom

In February, we reported that Kenya’s leading mobile service carrier – Safaricom – had launched new mobile music streaming app; Songa by Safaricom.

Well, it turns out, Songa is not by Safaricom, but by a web developer known as Evans Gikunda; that’s alleged. The story behind it goes that Mr. Gikunda was once an employee of Radio Africa, and before he joined the company, he had developed an app for streaming music and video.

When he joined Radio Africa, he approached the company’s CEO, Patrick Quarcoo, and told him about this interesting app he had been working on. Apparently, Mr. Quarcoo was impressed by Gikunda’s creation that he proposed that they form a separate holding company that will pursue the creation (Gikunda’s creation) to its full potential. The new holding company will be a partnership between Quarcoo and Gikunda.

Unfortunately, that holding company never came to be, and Gikunda left his job at Radio Africa where he was working as a web developer. Gikunda later learned that Quarcoo has sold the rights of ownership of his product to Safaricom. He was not involved in the process at any stage, and neither has he benefited from it; despite the claims, he created the platform.

That honorable court do declare that the plaintiff’s intellectual property rights in the platform, known as ‘Songa by Safaricom’ have been and are likely to be continuously infringed, contravened and/or violated and therefore the plaintiff needs protection,” reads in part a statement by Gikunda to the court case in which he is suing Safaricom and Mr Quarcoo.

Gikunda is asking the court to compel Safaricom and Radio Africa to reveal how much money they have made from ‘Songa by Safaricom’ since its inception. He additionally wants to be compensated for the general damages he has incurred.

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