Mobile-Pay App Developer Takes Mastercard to Court

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CN) – Crying theft at Mastercard’s mobile-payment app Qkr!, the startup PaidEasy accuses the credit card company in court of snatching its idea from last year’s TechDay New York.

PaidEasy says it participated in 2016 TechDay — the world’s largest startup exhibition — hot off the heels of relaunching an app in which it invested $200,000. Allowing consumers to open, view and pay restaurant bills on their smartphones, the PaidEasy app “is the only consumer-facing app that … integrates directly into a merchant’s existing POS [point-of-sale] system,” according to the complaint filed Tuesday in Westchester County Supreme Court.

Claiming its founder wowed two Mastercard representatives at TechDay, PaidEasy says the executives sat down for a 45-minute conference call on Aug. 3, 2016, about the app.

Qkr!, the Mastercard app, was already operational at the time of the meeting, but allegedly far inferior to the PaidEasy product. 

“Significantly, the original Qkr! app did not integrate with restaurant’s POS system, did not allow users to split the bill and did not have an ‘open tab’ feature to allow users the ability to leave without closing out the bill,” the complaint states.

PaidEasy says Mastercard’s app was also limited to one New York City restaurant, with little hope of gaining universal traction because of an inability-of-integration issue.

It was at this meeting, according to the complaint, that Mastercard told PaidEasy it wanted to partner up. Taking the relationship a step further, PaidEasy says its founder demonstrated the app at Mastercard offices on Aug. 18.

PaidEasy founder Gregg Jackowitz tried to follow up with Mastercard at least a half a dozen times after that meeting, according to the complaint.

On Feb. 27, 2017 — just 19 days after Jackowitz’s last unreturned calls to Mastercard — PCMag.com published an article with a telltale headline:  “MasterCare Makes It Easier to Open, Close a Bar Tab.”

 “It became quickly apparent to Jackowitz that Mastercard had, upon information and belief, copied the PaidEasy App and wholly misappropriated PaidEasy’s ideas, confidential information and trade secrets and as a result of the disclosures made to Mastercard pursuant to the Agreement,” the complaint states.

A representative of Mastercard was not immediately available for comment.

PaidEasy is represented by Heath Olnowich of Mavrides, Moyal, Packman and Sadkin.

Alleging breach of contract, bad faith, unfair competition, and misappropriation of confidential information and trade secrets, the company wants an injunction and $400 million in damages.

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