Standard Bank faces patent claim over mobile money venture

Standard Bank faces patent claim over mobile money venture

South Africa's Standard Bank and telco MTN are being sued for up to $136 million by the head of a technology firm over claims the pair's mobile money joint venture infringed a patent.

Launched in 2005, the MTN Banking JV is targeted at South Africa's large unbanked population, enabling them to make payments and money transfers through their handsets.

Now, according to local press reports, the firms have been served with a summons to appear in patent court after Wolfram Reiners, the head of South African tech firm 3MFuture, accused them of patent infringement over technology for making credit card purchases over mobile phones.

The German-born South African permanent resident claims to have held several meetings with Standard Bank relating to the technology between 2001 and 2002 during which he gave them extensive information on the system but the talks did not progress.

Reiners has now begun legal proceedings and told Reuters that he may claim up to R1 billion ($136 million) depending on MTN Banking's profits and customer numbers.

MTN, Standard Bank face $136 mln claim - Reuters

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