Please Call Me inventor goes back to court
The inventor of Please Call Me is back in court to challenge the R47m settlement Vodacom has offered him, says a Sunday Times report.
Nkosana Makate, who has battled Vodacom in court for more than a decade for compensation for his idea that gave rise to the Please Call Me service, also wants the court to sanction a new process by which his compensation will be determined and to force Vodacom to disclose information related to the revenue the service has generated.
Please Call Me allows a cellphone user without airtime to send an SMS to request a return call from another subscriber. In a 58-page notice of motion in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria), Makate accused Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub of acting ‘irregularly, unreasonably, irrationally, unfairly, unjustly and inequitably’ in his determination of compensation.
In a 2016 judgment, the Constitutional Court ruled that Makate was entitled to compensation and, if there was a deadlock in negotiations on compensation, Vodacom's CEO would be the final arbiter of the award.
‘I immediately appreciate that R47m sounds like a significant sum of money. But it must be appreciated that it is in fact merely 0.023% of the R205bn in call revenue that my team calculated that (Please Call Me) earned Vodacom from 2001,’ Makate said in his affidavit.
He wants 5% of the total revenue plus interest accrued from March 2001.
Despite the Constitutional Court ruling, which Makate initiated, he now wants the High Court to appoint a new referee for fresh negotiations, saying the company's CEO would not be ‘objective’ and have an ‘unjaundiced mind’.
Vodacom said it would oppose the application.
Makate believes that Vodacom owes him a settlement of R10.2bn, which excludes accrued interest and all the legal fees incurred since the Constitutional Court judgment. He wants Vodacom to pay him a settlement that takes into account his legal fees, according to a Moneyweb report.
In court papers, Makate said his legal team has calculated that Please Call Me has earned Vodacom R205bn in call revenue from 2001 to 2020 (a forecast), which excludes, among other things, advertising revenue linked to the innovation.
‘There is no sense in which an amount of 0.023% can be said to be a reasonable share of the revenue concerned, which can be up to 85% as in other instances,’ he said.
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