Delta Airlines pilot Craig Alexander has leveled a lawsuit against his employer claiming the airline stole messaging application which has saved the airline over a billion dollars. Now he wants his cut.
The story goes that Alexander developed a mobile application called QrewLive in his spare time and with his own money. The application, which was based on RabbitMQ technology was sort of like a Slack-for-airline-crew app that helped increase and facilitate crew communications.
According to Ars Technica, Alexander invested around $100,000 of his own money into the application and even pitched it to Delta executives in 2015 and 2016. According to his lawsuit, Delta showed some early interest in the app – even taking pitch meetings from Alexander, however, this petered out and a few years later Delta released its own app: Flight Family Communications (FFC).
“FFC is a carbon copy, knock-off of the role-based text messaging component of Craig’s proprietary QrewLive communications platform,” the lawsuit states.
For its part, Delta has denied these claims and a spokesperson noted in a Bloomberg interview as such.
“While we take the allegations specified in Mr. Alexander’s complaint seriously, they are not an accurate or fair description of Delta’s development of its internal crew messaging platform.”Morgan Durrant, Delta Spokesperson
QrewLive was designed to let members of a flight crew directly communicate with each other which is, according to the lawsuit, exactly what FFC does.
The case will hinge, according to some, on the employment contract between the Delta pilot and airline and whether the pilot has the right to develop ideas in his own time and thus the intellectual property would not be owned by the airline.