Sunday , March 7 2021

Why MTN did not enforce its patent "please call me"

Now it's fine Did you know that MTN South Africa has patented a "please call me" service in the early 2000s, beating rival Vodacom.

The idea came from a contractor from MTN at the time, Ari Kahn, who has since said that Nkosana Makate, a former Vodacom employee, does not deserve a cent from South Africa's largest mobile phone operator for creating a similar service.

After a lengthy court battle, the constitutional court issued a ruling in which it said that Makate deserved compensation (reversing lower court trials), ordering the parties to enter into bona fide negotiations to determine a reasonable settlement value. If the parties could not agree, it was up to the CEO of the Vodacom group, currently Shameel Joosub, to exercise his mind and determine a reasonable amount. Joosub did this and in early January presented a final offer according to Makate – purportedly R49 million. Makate rejected this by calling the settlement value an insult, and promising to return to court to contest it.

MTN has now explained, for the first time, why it has not challenged Vodacom's launch of a "please call me" service.
Company spokeswoman Jacqui O & Sullivan said that at the time – in the early 2000s – the mobile telecommunications sector in South Africa was still "very new."

"We were focused on the development of the category and the mass participation of South Africans," said O & # 39; Sullivan. "Patent law is extremely complex and MTN was not inclined to enter into a lengthy litigation over this service that simply sought to keep South Africans in touch."

She said that MTN made that decision 18 years ago and "is not in any way involved in the current dispute over the" please call me "issue between Makate and Vodacom.

Although the company wrote to Vodacom at the time to contest the launch of the callback notification service, it eventually decided that it would not be worth pursuing. He later allowed his patent to lapse. – (c) 2019 NewsCentral Media

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