A South African inventor Nkosana Makate has won his legal bid to compel Vodacom, a leading mobile phone telco to compensate him for inventing a popular messaging service ‘Please Call Me’.
Mr. Nkosana Makate who has been in the country’s highest court‚ the Constitutional Court since 2001 emphasizes he has no hard feelings towards the cellphone company. He says “I have no hard feelings towards Vodacom. I love the company. I worked for it since I was 18 years old‚”
South Africa’s the Constitutional Court and thus the country’s highest court ordered the firm to pay ex-employee Nkosana Makate for of breach of an agreement of the famous ‘Please Call Me, service which was introduced in 2001 to allowing prepaid phone users to send a free text asking to be phoned back. Thus overturned a ruling of a lower court, which had ruled that while Please Call Me was Mr. Makate’s idea he could not claim payment as he only had an oral agreement with Vodacom’s director of product development, Philip Geissler, who lacked the authority to make a deal on behalf of the firm
“I’ve been on this road for 16 years‚ nine years now in trial‚ after three dismissals by the lower courts. It’s been a long journey for me‚” he added.
Mr Makate adds he had earlier proposed 15% of the proceeds of the Please Call Me service and they would “take it from there” in the talks. He was also positive that the ruling would mean something for those fighting similar battles. Telco companies have been known to breach agreements or even at times forcibly claim innovations as their own leading to many disgruntled inventors.
“There are two important legal hurdles that we had to overcome — prescription and ostensible authority — and I am sure that those will then apply to all people in SA‚” Mr Makate said.
Courtesy: Branded IQ