The creator of the hugely successful “Please Call Me” service, Nkosana Makate has secured a significant victory in his long-running legal battle with Vodacom.
According to reports, The Supreme Court of Appeal in South Africa ruled that Vodacom must recalculate the compensation owed to Mr Makate, potentially awarding him a much larger sum than previously offered.
“The applicant is entitled to be paid 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent of the total revenue of the PCM product from March 2001 to date of judgment by the Second Respondent, together with the more interest thereon, alternatively interest in terms of Section 2A(5) of the Prescribed Rate of Interest Act, 55 of 1975 as amended,” the court ruled.
Reports state this could amount to billions of Rands, significantly higher than Vodacom’s initial offer of R47 million ($2,477,370). Mr Makate had initially proposed a R10.2 billion ($537,744,000) settlement excluding legal fees.
It is noted that the court rejected Vodacom’s appeal against a previous ruling, upholding Mr Makate’s right to fair compensation.
Mr Makate expressed relief and satisfaction with the judgment, highlighting his 15-year struggle and the sacrifices made.
“I am thrilled with the judgement, it takes us a bit further and much closer to finality. It’s been a long time, the sacrifice has been huge, and a 15-year battle with a massive company like Vodacom is no child’s play.”
On their part, Vodacom expressed disappointment with the ruling and intends to appeal to the Constitutional Court.
This case sets a precedent for future intellectual property disputes, emphasizing the importance of fair compensation for inventors.
Mr Makate reportedly believes the judgment goes beyond personal gain, contributing to a legal framework for similar cases.