The astonishing story behind the Please Call Me fight between Vodacom and MTN

/dev/null

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Yes, but what people are saying is that Vodacom screwed up the court case, that if they had had their ducks in a row then Makate would have been sent on this merry way with nothing.

They also screwed up originally when they told Makate that they would pay him an indeterminate amount, without setting some boundaries/conditions. This is what the CC latched onto, not so much the fact the Makate did not invent anything.

How did Vodacom screw up the case? They won in the High Court, and they won so well that the SCA refused to hear an appeal. This guy then went to the ConCourt.

Yes, they screwed up by entering into a contract with him. The ConCourt has simply ordered that the contract should be enforced. The court was dealing with contract law - not patent law.

This is the first line of the ConCourt judgement:
"This application for leave to appeal is about the enforcement of a contract concluded by the applicant and the respondent’s agent."
 

ToxicBunny

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Panyaza Lesufi and Thuli Madonsela made major mistakes in getting involved in this nonsense.

Could seriously backfire on their careers.

For Thuli I reckon it will be a minor blip... for Panyaza though its just another one of many and will hopefully be another big nail in his coffin.
 

/dev/null

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The concourt said that Vodacom has to pay a "reasonable amount". A "reasonable" amount for an idea that has already been patented would be a woolworths gift voucher.

Reasonable amount in terms of the agreement.
 

krycor

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The concourt said that Vodacom has to pay a "reasonable amount". A "reasonable" amount for an idea that has already been patented would be a woolworths gift voucher.

I suspect when it’s all said and done, if Vodacom has paper work citing reputation damage preventative measures as reasons for high settlement.. Makete will be leaving with R48.5m less than when he enters the court room.

If Vodacom screw up in their documentation and linked the settlement amount to the valuation of idea tho this could drag on a bit with a higher pay off.

When it’s all said and done, as per historic, Vodacom has always run idea/implementation competitions with set value prices. So I won’t be surprised if they are required to pay him no more than this with interest.
 

konfab

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Reasonable amount in terms of the agreement.
(b) Vodacom is ordered to commence negotiations in good faith with Mr Kenneth Nkosana Makate for determining a reasonable compensation payable to him in terms of the agreement.

(c) In the event of the parties failing to agree on the reasonable compensation, the matter must be submitted to Vodacom’s Chief Executive Officer for determination of the amount within a reasonable time.

The agreement:
The applicant and Mr Geissler negotiated and agreed that Vodacom would use the applicant’s idea to develop a new product which would be put on trial for commercial viability. If the product was successful then the applicant would be paid a share in the revenue generated by it. Although the applicant had indicated that he wanted 15% of the revenue, the parties deferred their negotiations on the amount to be paid to the applicant for a later date. However, they agreed that in the event of them failing to agree on the amount, Vodacom’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) would determine the amount.

In terms of the original agreement, a reasonable amount is whatever the CEO says it is. And given how it is a patented idea that anyone in the world can reproduce, a Woolworths gift voucher is all he should be getting.
 

jayrais

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The astonishing story behind the Please Call Me fight between Vodacom and MTN


What I can't understand is; "Why is this (MTN's ownership of the Please Call Me IP) only surfacing now?". The story of Makate and Vodacom has been in the public domain ever since Allan Knot-Graig released his autobiography in which he claimed to be the inventor of the service, why didn't MTN refute it then? Why did Vodacom offer Makate any settlement? If I claim the IBM PC was my idea, will IBM offer me a settlement although the first functioning PC was probably an Apple?
 

Jola

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Ask MTN ? But it seems that MTN were not going to pursue their patent rights, because it was a flaky patent registration based on decades of prior art. Not a new idea at all.
 
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konfab

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Ask MTN ? But it seems that MTN were not going to purse their patent rights, because it was a flaky patent registration based on decades of prior art. Not a new idea at all.
Exactly, that patent wouldn't hold any water if it were challenged.
 

Lucas Buck

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Well then MTN already had a working product.

No ways Makate could invent anything.
I’m not sure that I understand your argument. You agree that mtns patent has no bearing on case yet insist that Makate should not be paid because mtn has a patent for a similar product.


Yes, but what people are saying is that Vodacom screwed up the court case, that if they had had their ducks in a row then Makate would have been sent on this merry way with nothing...
All of Vodacoms mistakes were made prior to the court case. What could they have done differently in court that would have sent Makate packing?
 

Jola

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I’m not sure that I understand your argument. You agree that mtns patent has no bearing on case yet insist that Makate should not be paid because mtn has a patent for a similar product.

I don't understand your issue, Makate didn't invent anything.

Vodacom sait that they would pay him something, for his efforts, and according to them the maximum that anyone has ever been paid for this type of product incentive is R0.5m.

Why should Makate get more than R0.5m ?
 

Geoff.D

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In my opinion, the Concourt messed up because they did not send the parties packing until they came back with ALL their individual ducks in a row.
The focus on the " invention" idea is because that is where the public sentiment and social media sentiment is which is wrong.

The focus is on the "contract" between VC and Makate. THAT is where VC really screwed up. For a large corporate to get itself into such a mess is unbelievable.
As to the patent? Well, this is a new area in SA Law. In terms of the new IP legislation, registering a patent regarding how something is implemented is possible in my view.
However, it is correct that trying to patent something that has been around for years is BS.
Imagine trying to patent a paperclip now just because you cover it in plastic. The idea is a joke, and yes that could have contributed to the decision MTN took to not enforce their patent.
 

Lucas Buck

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I don't understand your issue, Makate didn't invent anything.

Vodacom sait that they would pay him something, for his efforts, and according to them the maximum that anyone has ever been paid for this type of product incentive is R0.5m.

Why should Makate get more than R0.5m ?
My issue is that Makate presented an idea with the expectation that he would get paid. Vodacom played along. Why should he not get paid because he didn't event anything. He should get paid because his idea was accepted based on the condition of payment.

I can understand, if your general principal is that he shouldn't get paid because he didn't event anything, if you're not looking at the details of this case.
But you seem to be saying that it doesn't matter what has transpired, he shouldn't get paid because he presented an idea and not an invention.
 

ToxicBunny

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My issue is that Makate presented an idea with the expectation that he would get paid. Vodacom played along. Why should he not get paid because he didn't event anything. He should get paid because his idea was accepted based on the condition of payment.

I can understand, if your general principal is that he shouldn't get paid because he didn't event anything, if you're not looking at the details of this case.
But you seem to be saying that it doesn't matter what has transpired, he shouldn't get paid because he presented an idea and not an invention.

Ultimately he should get paid due to the agreement of a reward, the level of that reward iis all important.
 

Jola

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My issue is that Makate presented an idea with the expectation that he would get paid. Vodacom played along. Why should he not get paid because he didn't event anything. He should get paid because his idea was accepted based on the condition of payment.

I can understand, if your general principal is that he shouldn't get paid because he didn't event anything, if you're not looking at the details of this case.
But you seem to be saying that it doesn't matter what has transpired, he shouldn't get paid because he presented an idea and not an invention.

He should get paid what others in his position were paid, based on his suggestion and the resulting agreement.

So let Vodacom pay the R0.5m and get it over with.

This also complies with the CC instruction (+ the legal fees, of course).

QED
 

/dev/null

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The agreement:


In terms of the original agreement, a reasonable amount is whatever the CEO says it is. And given how it is a patented idea that anyone in the world can reproduce, a Woolworths gift voucher is all he should be getting.

In this case the CEO is the deadlock-breaker, his job is to break the deadlock - not to dream up his own amount from the heavans.
 

Jola

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In this case the CEO is the deadlock-breaker, his job is to break the deadlock - not to dream up his own amount from the heavans.

Well, you can't blame him, he has tried, R49m is completely over the top.
 

Lucas Buck

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Ultimately he should get paid due to the agreement of a reward, the level of that reward iis all important.
The other mistake that I think Vodacom made is that they didn't dampen his expectations on the level of the reward that he would receive. I think that made it difficult for them years later to sit around the negotiating table and give him a 100 voucher when they knew what his expectations were previously and said nothing at the time.

I'm not a lawyer, but i don't think that it's possible for him to get less than Vodacoms last offer during negotiations.
 
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ToxicBunny

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The other mistake that I think Vodacom made is that they didn't dampen his expectations on the level of the reward that he would receive. I think that made it difficult for them later sit around the negotiating table and give him a 100 voucher when they knew what his expectations were.

I'm not a lawyer, but i don't think that it's possible for him to get less than Vodacoms last offer during negotiations.

I agree, but I also doubt its possible for him to get more than their last offer.
 
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