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SA’s Vodacom ordered to compensate inventor of Please Call Me service


JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Apr 26 – South Africa’s mobile operator Vodacom has been ordered to compensate Kenneth Nkosana Makate for using his ‘Please call me’ SMS concept.

The constitutional court on Tuesday ruled that Vodacom was bound by a 2000 verbal agreement between one of the executives and Makate, effectively ending an 8-year court battle and overruling an earlier high court ruling.

Fin24 news says the highest court in South Africa found the Vodacom executive, Philip Geissler, had the authority to engage on behalf of Vodacom.

“Given Mr. Geissler’s position at Vodacom; the organizational structure within which he exercised his power; and his role in the process which had to be followed before a new product could be introduced at Vodacom, the judgment held that Mr. Geissler had ostensible authority to bind Vodacom,” ruled the top court.

Makate had shared the please call me idea to Geissler, who was then a Vodacom director and head of product development. According to a summary from the Constitutional Court, Geissler and Makate reached a verbal agreement to test the concept, and if successful, Makete would have been paid a share of proceeds from the service.

The court has ordered Vodacom to start negotiating with Makete within 30 days, noting that “this product has generated revenue amounting to billions of rands.”

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