Prof. Eli Ben-Sasson, a senior lecturer at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology now has a court matter to attend to after the Institute filed a civil lawsuit accusing him of violating their intellectual property requirements.
As per local news source, Calcalist, Technion is specifically accusing Ben-Sasson of using the knowledge he developed while working at the institute and also using grants received by Technion to build his company, Starkware.
The allegations claim that Starkware’s first product which is a zero-knowledge protocol (STARK) that helps blockchain scaling, was developed with resources that Ben-Sasson collected from Technion.
After building Starkware with their resources and also with support from a doctoral student at the institute, Technion claims that Ben-Sasson wants to deny them of their intellectual property rights.
It is the compensation for the alleged mistreatment that Technion wants by demanding in the lawsuit that they receive 50% of Ben-Sasson’s shares in Starkware.
The defendant, though has moved to quash the claims by saying the Starkware did not use or plan to use any invention belonging to the Technion. Instead, “the company has raised millions of dollars and has recruited workers to develop the software and intellectual property it needs.”
They thus concluded that “Technion has no right neither in the part of Prof. Sasson nor in the part of anyone else in the company.” Truthfully, Stark had announced that it raised $30 million worth of venture capital in October 2018, to add to an earlier $6 million seed funding.
The current lawsuit, however, would have to be settled by the Haifa District Court as the report notes that this is the first time in twenty years that the Technion is suing one of its faculty members.
The institute is wary that Ben-Sasson wants to “become rich at the expense of the Technion and to rob its property.”
In another development from Israel, we reported in January that crypto-entrepreneur Moshe Hogeg is facing a $4.6 million lawsuit after an investor accused him of misappropriating company funds.