* MTN Banking venture sued for patent technology
* Inventor files claim close to 1 bln rand
JOHANNESBURG, April 9 (Reuters) - South Africa’s MTN (MTNJ.J) and Standard Bank (SBKJ.J) face a claim of close to 1 billion rand ($136.4 million) for infringement of technology patents in their MTN Banking joint venture, a local newspaper reported on Friday.
Business Report newspaper said the two firms had been served with summonses by 3MFuture Africa, whose head, Wolfram Reiners, said the technology used to launch and maintain MTN Banking was developed by him.
Standard Bank, Africa’s biggest bank by assets, confirmed it had received a summons.
“We received the summons two days ago and we obviously need to consider it before we are able to provide any further comments,” Standard Bank spokesman Erik Larsen told Reuters.
MTN, Africa’s biggest mobile operator by subscribers, was unable to immediately comment.
Standard Bank and MTN introduced MTN Banking in 2005 to provide a money transfer system for unbanked customers. Its core product, MobileMoney, uses technology that works like a mobile bank account, enabling MTN customers to make money transfers and payments. ($1=7.334 Rand) (Reporting by Serena Chaudhry; editing by Simon Jessop)