The South Gauteng High Court has dismissed a case brought against Vodacom by former employee Nkosana Makate.
Media reports suggested that Makate wanted as much as R6.75 billion from Vodacom for inventing the Please Call Me service.
According to Makate, his boss at the time, Philip Geissler, promised – in an oral agreement – to facilitate remuneration negotiations with the company.
Geissler submitted the idea and said he would negotiate remuneration between Makete and Vodacom once it was developed and its technical and commercial feasibility had been ascertained.
Vodacom, in turn, argues that the rights to anything developed or produced by its employees belong to the company. Makete disputes this, arguing the idea fell outside of his normal duties at Vodacom.
Vodacom also said that Geissler did not have the right to promise Makete anything on behalf of Vodacom.
Vodacom argued that there is a difference between an idea and a working product. The final product, which uses a USSD and SMS system with advertising, may therefore not be exactly what Makete envisaged.
The High Court today (1 July 2014) dismissed the civil case against Vodacom with costs.