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Former contractor sues Google for $25m

Claims it stole his idea for Google Sky

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A former Google contract worker is claiming $25m damages from the search monolith for allegedly stealing his idea for Google Sky - the heavenly Google Earth feature that allows users to navigate the universe.

In the lawsuit filed last Wednesday in Atlanta's Northern District Court of Georgia, plaintiff Jonathan Cobb claims that in 2006, when working as a contractor hired through WorkforceLogic USA, he "convened an internal Google Groups email discussion group" in which he "presented, advanced, and refined the Google Sky concept and idea".

The suit explains: "Defendant Google took the concepts and ideas originally presented by Plaintiff and, without any notice or credit being extended to Plaintiff, used them as its own... Such actions represent a violation of Defendant Google's publicized corporate motto 'Do No Evil'."

According to InformationWeek, Cobb further claims that Google took his idea "despite the fact that [he], when making application for contractor work with Defendant WorkforceLogic USA, made disclosure of his previously developed Sky idea and concept."

Specifically, Cobb states he proposed to the email discussion group: "(a) An interface similar to that of Google Earth with upgrades, including the presentation of a Day and Night view and related space imagery; (b) An interface with differing telescope control systems; (c) Access to and the ability to use GPS devices for positioning information; (d) Object tracking; (e) Forecasting; (f) The ability to subscribe to high resolution imagery from Earth and space-based telescopes; (g) Live image overlay and recording ability; and (h) Optical modulation measurement."

Cobb's suit also names WorkforceLogic as a defendant. Neither it nor Google responded to requests for comment, InformationWeek notes. ®

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