A court in Kenya has dismissed a lawsuit brought against mobile phone company Nokia by a Nairobi based firm, TechnoServe. The company had been seeking 150 million Kenyan shillings in compensation for an alleged breach of contract by Nokia when it was acquired by Microsoft in 2014. According to TechnoServce, it was still in partnership with the Finnish company at the time of the sale.
According to Justice Chacha Mwita of the High Court, the case was rejected as it had previously been referred to arbitration in 2021 and as such, matters already in arbitration could not be heard by the court.
The Kenyan tech company dragged Nokia to court in 2020, alleging that it breached their 2006 by selling the business which also resulted in the transfer of several Nokia Centres jointly run by the two companies to Microsoft. It was seeking approximately 1.38 million dollars in damages and loss of earnings for the business it had created for Nokia in the time that they were partners. Although the case was referred to arbitration in 2021, TechnoServe challenged the move, claiming that the arbitration clauses applied were unconstitutional.
TechnoServe states that it was forced into investing in the business through a deal that saw them establish Nokia care centres in the country. Despite co-establishing the centres, Nokia later transferred the centres to Microsoft Corporation without TechnoServe. The court papers read in part, “The plaintiff avers that the 1st defendants and 4th defendants’ employees admitted and acknowledged, by way of correspondence and letters, the plaintiffs’ contribution to its success in Kenya.”