It’s not every day a masterpiece is created but when it does happen, the creator needs to be recognized. In this case, it’s Nkosana Makate, the inventor of the popular ‘Please Call Me Feature’ by Vodacom, used by telcos like Safaricom.
Safaricom Please Call Me Inventor Gets Recognition
Nkosana Makate, the developer of Vodacom’s “Please Call Me” service has been in a legal battle with the mobile giant for over 20 years. Earlier, the ex-Vodacom employee rejected a KES 354 million settlement offered after a Constitutional Court judgement in 2016.
However, it looks like he finally struck gold. Fast forward to 2022 and the North Gauteng High Court ordered that he should get 5% of the total voice revenue generated by the service.
Nkosane Makate is demanding over $1.2 billion in compensation. His argument states that the figure is 5% of revenue from the group’s $13.2 billion in revenue from the service. This is all over an 18-year period.
BIG WIN for Safaricom's 'please call me' inventor as the court also ruled he’ll be entitled to 27% of income generated by the return of calls sent through the service
Nkosana Makate 45, will also earn 5% of the total voice revenue yielded by the service from March 2001-March 2021 pic.twitter.com/uTQr71aFlX
— Lagertha (@Nyandia_G) February 10, 2022
With this argument in mind, the court ruled for Vodacom to make a better offer. This looks like it is a big win for inventors all over Africa.
There is a lot of debate over the intellectual properties in the African mobile telecom industry. According to QZ, the ruling could also be precedent-setting and a big lesson for African innovators to patent their intellectual property.
So before you pitch solutions and innovations to telecom companies across the region make sure you have some safeguards.