In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday in Atlanta's Northern District Court of Georgia, a former Google (NSDQ: GOOG) contract worker claims that Google stole his idea for Google Sky.
Google Sky is a feature that was added to the Google Earth application last August that lets users navigate through stars and galaxies.
Plaintiff Jonathan Cobb claims that starting in 2006, as a contractor hired through WorkforceLogic USA, he convened an internal Google Groups e-mail discussion group wherein he "presented, advanced, and refined the Google Sky concept and idea."
Obviously I have no opinion on the merits of the case; it depends on the terms of his contract. Clearly we will see more of this sort of litigation until the legal status of contract workers is better defined. I would just note the crucial role email will clearly play in this case.