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Technion Israel Institute of Technology suing its professor for alleged IP theft

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An Isreali institute is suing one of its professors for allegedly using the space’s technology and ideas for his own side work.

Shady Practice

The Technion Israel Institute of Technology is the business in question, accusing Professor Eli Ben-Sasson of violation of intellectual property. This case is going through the Haifa District Court.

It appears that the professor created a company called Starkware with another student who attends the institute. The suit assumes that “the intellectual property on which the company was founded was developed using grants received at the Technion.”

Starkware utilizes zero-proof technology to increase scalability within blockchain technology. Scalability ensures users can buy Bitcoin quickly on top of other assets. The group places emphasis on encryption, and it seems that Starkware came to be with resources provided by the institute. Some of these resources consist of millions in the local currency provided by the group. The Technion also accuses Ben-Sasson of building a company while straight-up ignoring the institute’s IP rules.

Overall, the group is looking to convert half of Sasson’s shares back to their ownership:

“Starkware Industries did not use or intend to use an invention belonging to the Technion. The company has raised millions of dollars and has recruited workers to develop the software and intellectual property it needs. The Technion has no right neither in the part of Prof. Sasson nor in the part of anyone else in the company.”

A recurring incident

The institute last sued one of its professors around 20 years ago. So far, Starkware has over $36 million raised. It appears that the institute only learned of this company via an interview Ben-Sasson did with the local media. On top of this, Ben-Sasson allegedly asked for unpaid leave as well, without letting the institute know why. This took place three months after the launch of Starkware.

Moreover, the institute claims that any projects created at the institute are owned by the group if they’re looking to make money. Also, half of that money should go to the Technion unless otherwise stated by the institute. The case is set to be “a serious one,” according to Ctech.

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