In a major win for 'Please Call Me' creator, Kenneth Nkosana Makate, the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed Vodacom's appeal with costs.
The court further ordered the cellphone network service provider to pay Makate between 5 and 10% of the total revenue that the service generated over the last 18 years.
According to court documents, Vodacom has to determine a reasonable compensation amount due to Makate within 30 days.
The protracted battle between Vodacom and Makate began in November 2000 when Makate, a former Vodacom employee, came up with the 'Please Call Me' feature.
Makate came up with the idea more than 20 years ago when he had a long-distance relationship with his now wife, who was a student then. As communication was difficult at the time, he came up with the invention.
A former Vodacom chief executive promised Makate compensation for his invention, but the company later backtracked when the service became a success.
In April 2016, the Constitutional Court ruled in Makate’s favour, ordering Vodacom chief executive Shameel Joosub to make a determination on reasonable compensation for Makate.
Vodacom made a determination of R47 million, which was rejected by Makate and his legal team, who valued fair compensation closer to R28 and R110 billion.
Judge Wendy Hughes made it clear in her ruling that the calculations used by Joosub in offering Makate R47 million for what she called a brilliant invention was by far too conservative.
Makate and Vodacom have been involved in a back-and-forth court battle for fair and reasonable compensation for nearly a decade since the Constitutional Court ruled on the matter.