Former Vodacom employee Nkosana Makate wants as much as R6.75 billion from Vodacom for inventing the Please Call Me service. This is according to a report in the Sunday Times on 10 November 2013.
Makate is battling Vodacom trying to get additional compensation which he says he has been promised by the company.
Vodacom in turn argues that the rights to anything developed or produced by its employees belong to the company. Makate disputes this, saying the idea fell outside of his normal duties at Vodacom.
Vodacom also highlighted that the manager who promised Makate additional compensation for the service did not have the right to do so.
Curiously the intellectual property (IP) rights for the service is not owned by Vodacom or Makate, but rather by MTN.
Ari Kahn, who previously consulted for MTN, was behind the idea and registered a patent for the Please call Me service on behalf of MTN.
Vodacom and Makate, understandably, avoided this issue in their legal wrangling regarding the Please Call Me service.
Vodacom Please Call Me case nearing the end
The Vodacom Please Call Me legal case has been dragging on for years, but is now coming to a head – closing arguments are set to be heard on Tuesday 12 November 2013.
The Sunday Times reported that Sterling Rand Litigation Fund – the company which is funding Makate’s court case in exchange for a 40% cut of the winnings – estimates that Vodacom made as much as R45 billion from the service.
Makate feels that he should get at least 15% of the revenue generated by the Please call Me service, which equates to R6.75 billion.