Gugulethu entrepreneurs issue Nedbank with new summons but drop R280m bid [Updated]

UPDATE (23 August 2019): In a statement yesterday in response to the new summons issued by the two Gugulethu entrepreneurs, Nedbank again denied that it infringed upon the patent of the two entrepreneurs. “Accordingly, Nedbank remains of the view that no compensation is due to the claimants by Nedbank,” it added.

The two entrepreneurs are also fighting Nedbank in a separate case, lodged in the Court of the Commissioner of Patents on 18 June, where the bank is seeking to revoke their patent registered in 2015. Nedbank’s attorney, Bouwer’s Theo Doubell said the revocation application has not yet come before the court.

Two Gugulethu entrepreneurs — who in June took on Nedbank over the alleged infringement of their Instablock patent — today issued a fresh summons against the bank, in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.

But this time the two, Thandile Jwambi and Tatolo Kutumane, have dropped their demand for more than R280-million in damages and want the court to decide how much Nedbank should pay in royalties they say the bank owes them.

Furthermore, the two entrepreneurs want an interdict restraining Nedbank from further using, making available in any format or disclosing, the invention in the absence of the payment of a reasonable royalty.

The two allege that Nedbank stole their idea for a card-blocking system which they presented in a pitching competition hosted by LaunchLab in Stellenbosch in 2015 and which was sponsored by the bank.

Two Gugulethu entrepreneurs today issued new summons against Nedbank, but now want the court to decide how much the bank owes them

Nedbank’s attorney for the case, Bouwer’s Theo Doubell was not immediately available to comment, the bank has previously denied that it infringed upon the patent of the two entrepreneurs (see this story).

This, while Launchlab says there is no truth to the allegation that it “conspired” with Nedbank to frustrate the efforts of two Gugulethu entrepreneurs in securing patent rights (see this story).

While the two were forced to reissue the summons after the case hit a legal hurdle, they are also fighting Nedbank in a separate case, lodged in the Court of the Commissioner of Patents on 18 June where the bank is seeking to revoke their patent that was registered by patent attorneys Adams & Adams in 2015.

Initial case withdrawn

The two entrepreneurs have now since also approached the High Court to intervene of their behalf against Nedbank.

Jwambi and Kutumane’s attorney, SA Litigation Funding Company’s (Salfco) Edward de la Pierre told Ventureburn last month that the duo’s initial case, which was lodged in the court of the Commissioner of Patents in Pretoria, had to be withdrawn because the two had not appointed a patent attorney to act in a permanent position on the case, as is required when defending a patent case.

A patent attorney had merely signed the necessary legal documents on behalf of the two entrepreneurs. It is however required that such an attorney represent both parties in the matter itself.

De la Pierre said a patent attorney AJ Rabie Attorneys had been appointed to act on behalf of the two entrepreneurs in the case, but that the case would need to be reissued because of this change.

‘We don’t want to appear greedy’

Commenting today, De la Pierre confirmed that the two entrepreneurs were no longer demanding that over R280-million be paid in damages and that the court rather decide on what figure is appropriate.

“We don’t want to appear greedy. So we will ask the court to decide what’s a good number to demand,” he said.

However he stressed that this wouldn’t necessary mean the figure would be smaller than the initial R280-million the two demanded.

He indicated that a judge at a Launchlab event had pointed out that a figure of four percent of Nedbank’s monthly service fees to their card holders to be a reasonable royalty figure — putting this at a whopping R1.3-billion.

Read more: Gugulethu entrepreneurs’ R280m case against Nedbank hits legal hurdle
Read more: We did not conspire with Nedbank against Gugulethu entrepreneurs – LaunchLab
Read more: Nedbank denies it stole patent from Gugulethu entrepreneurs

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