Technion, an Israeli University has sued its senior faculty member for establishing a zero-knowledge proof technology company and making use of knowledge while working at the institute. Thereby violating the intellectual property of the university.
As reported on local media the Prof. Eli Ben-Sasson has been filed with a civil lawsuit for allegedly founding a company known as Starkware with a doctoral student at the Technion, Also the university claims that, the intellectual property on which the company was founded using grants received at the Technion.
The interesting part here is that the university now demands from the court the transfer of 50% of all his shares in the company. On the counterpart Ben-Sasson’s denies these accusations, saying that
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.
Zero-Knowledge Proofs Technology Company
Starkware is a startup which mainly works on to improve the scalability and privacy of blockchains using STARK technology, providing zero-knowledge cryptographic proofs that are “post-quantum secure” with no need for a trusted setup. Along with above mentioned Eli Ben-Sasson, the company was co-founded by Prof. Alessandro Chiesa (UC Berkeley), Uri Kolodny, and Michael Riabzev (doctoral student in Technion).
Notably, the Starkware completed a $30 million financing round, generating funds from industry players such as Intel Capital, Sequoia, Atomico, DCVC, Wing, Consensys, Coinbase Ventures, Multicoin Capital, Collaborative Fund, Scalar Capital and Semantic Ventures.
Also, back in May 2018, the company received a seed funding of $6 million with the reported participation of Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin, Tezos’ Arthur Breitman, NEO’s Da Hongfei, and Bitmain and many more.
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