Who is the rightful owner of the Please Call Me idea?
The country is aware of Nkosana Makate, The Please Call Me service inventor, who claims to have invented it when he worked for Vodacom 18 years ago.
However, Ari Kahn, a former MTN consultant, came out publicly in 2013 claiming he is the patent owner of Please Call Me.
Speaking to Bongani Bingwa, Kahn says Vodacom has said that he is the rightful owner of the patent.
They have been telling me this for the past ten years privately and I think they have come to a conscious point where they are saying they need to acknowledge the truth and the truth is what they are stating.— Ari Kahn, Patent owner - Please Call Me
The simple fact is what Makate suggested to Vodacom, they never developed or deployed. His buzz memo was not deployed back in 2001 and has not been deployed in the 18 years that have followed. And what Vodacom actually developed, belonged to MTN.— Ari Kahn, Patent owner - Please Call Me
He adds that what Makate suggested led Vodacom directly to MTN's front door. It then developed a product that was claimed and owned by MTN.
The truth of the matter is that no one has said that anyone has stolen anything. What happened is that all the players behaved very poorly and badly on this entire story, Vodacom included.— Ari Kahn, Patent owner - Please Call Me
In 2001, MTN notified Vodacom to cease and deceased because they were infringing on intellectual property and unfortunately Vodacom flexed their muscles and played a Mafia card, threatening people's livelihood. There was a lot of discussions and animation behind the scenes that have not been publically disclosed.— Ari Kahn, Patent owner - Please Call Me
He says it is untrue that MTN allowed Vodacom to continue unchecked and adds MTN needs to speak up.
They developed a world-class technology through my invention and they launched services that changed the landscape.— Ari Kahn, Patent owner - Please Call Me
Also joining in the conversation, Chris Schoeman, Nkosana Makate’s former litigation funders says what Kahn is saying is absolutely correct.
However, there are three major lies that permeate through this whole matter. The first one is that Makate invented the Please Call Me concept, that is simply not true.— Chris Schoeman, Nkosana Makate’s former litigation funder
The second is the issue of racism which has been introduced into this matter and is totally unfounded.— Chris Schoeman, Nkosana Makate’s former litigation funder
The third big lie is that Makate would be entitled to a fee in the billions. That is outrageous and is a lie.— Chris Schoeman, Nkosana Makate’s former litigation funder
He adds that Makate's idea was not the Please Call Me idea. Makate's idea Makate which required litigation funding was one where a person would be able to send a missed call to a target phone and the recipient could choose to call you back.
That was the idea that Mr Makate presented to Vodacom, nothing more and nothing less.— Chris Schoeman, Nkosana Makate’s former litigation funder
Listen below to the full conversation of exactly who owns the Please Call Me concept: