Interlocutory matters still dominate in patents case

Published Aug 11, 2011


Asha Speckman

LEGAL counsel for Standard Bank and MTN Group, Africa’s largest cellphone service provider, and 3M FutureAfrica, a technology company which has taken the two giants to court, spent a third day arguing interlocutory matters in the North Gauteng High Court yesterday.

Counsel was initially expected to begin presentation of their arguments yesterday over the alleged theft of 3M FutureAfrica’s patent rights by Standard Bank and MTN.

The current bone of contention is an application which counsel for the bank and cellphone company lodged last week asking the Patents Court to force Wolfram Reiners, a director of 3M FutureAfrica, to disclose his company’s funders.

Peter Ginsburg, the counsel for Standard Bank and MTN, said there was a need to establish that 3M FutureAfrica had not ceded its invention to a third party.

It would therefore not have the right to argue the matter in court.

Cedric Puckrin, senior counsel, arguing on behalf of the small technology company, said even if his clients had ceded part or all of their rights the Patents Act does not allow that.

Puckrin made no bones of the fact that court had lost three days on interlocutory claims.

Judge TM Makgoba is expected to deliver his ruling on the application on Thursday.

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