For years, a legal war has been going on between Kenneth Nkosana Makate and Vodacom. The latter is know to all, but the former in case you aren’t aware, is the brain behind the “please call me” idea. Yes, he invented “please call me”.
Emerging reports have it that the Constitutional Court has ruled that Vodacom should pay Makate for inventing the “Please Call Me” SMS.
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According to the reports, the court this morning, observed that Vodacom was bound by an agreement with Makate who reportedly conceptualized the prominent “Please Call Me” package of the telecommunications provider.
He invented the “Please Call Me in 2000”, Vodacom launched it in 2001 and Makate’s first written claim on the company was made in 2007.
As related by the Constitutional Court’s judgment, Makate approached Philip Geissler who was Vodacom’s director and head of product development about the SMS idea. And they reached an oral agreement that Vodacom would experiment with the idea.
It was agreed that “if it proved commercially viable, Mr Makate would be paid a share of proceeds from the product subject to terms to be negotiated between him and Mr Geissler…
Given Mr Geissler’s position at Vodacom; the organisational structure within which he exercised his power; and his role in the process which had to be followed before a new product could be introduced at Vodacom, the judgment held that Mr Geissler had ostensible authority to bind Vodacom,” stated the Constitutional Court judgment.
About a year ago, there were insinuations that Makate, based on actuarial estimations will claim about R70 billion which represents 15 percent of the revenue generated by the ‘Please Call Me’ service since 2000.
Then, Makate said: “all I wanted was for Vodacom and I to jointly make money from this invention on a percentage share basis like all other business deals…”Please Call Me” has turned out to be one of the most successful inventions that Vodacom has ever had.”
Meanwhile, Vodacom spokesperson Byron Kennedy said Vodacom is aware of the Constitutional Court ruling and is currently studying its contents.