IIT-Kharagpur boils over US tech transfer case

New Delhi, Jun 28: The misappropriation of technology of a US firm in the Northern District Court of California by IIT-Kharagpur and its affiliate Technology Incubation and Entrepreneurship Training Society (TIETS) has taken a serious turn.

The technology has been described as "valuable and novel" by the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) even before IIT-Kgp had access to it. What could further complicate matters for IIT-Kgp is the fact that the US court has refused to grant it sovereign immunity (given to countries).

IIT-Kgp, that signed the contract in 2003 with entrepreneur Mandana D Farhang and her affiliate MA Mobile Limited have violated the contract by allegedly passing to others.

Sanjiv N Singh, co-lead counsel for plaintiffs Farhang and MA Mobile said, "IIT-Kharagpur should be very worried about the Farhang case. The recent authorization by USPTO of a patent describing Farhang's mobile technology and confirming that the technology in question is valuable and novel -- and was valuable and novel as of the year 2000, long before IIT-Kgp even had access to it as a trade secret -- confirms that the Farhang case will be a winner and will very likely result in a significant verdict for our client. Moreover, the case has been approved to proceed and IIT-Kgp must remain in it as a defendant, despite attempts by it to have itself dismissed from the case."

"There is compelling evidence that agents of IIT-Kgp, operating under the direction of and in coordination with Partha Chakrabarti, appear to have misappropriated a US-based company's technology for their own benefit and for dissemination to third parties including IBM and the Indian Railways," Singh added.

The complaint claims that Farhang and her affiliate entered into an agreement with IIT-Kgp and shared a new mobile computing technology. Farhang and her affiliate shared not only critical technology and confidential information with IIT-Kgp, but also disclosed critical trade secrets relating to marketing, business strategies and various applications for which the technology could be used.

But IIT-Kgp who promised to develop the advanced prototype that Farhang and her affiliate provided to them "misappropriated" the technology and "joint venture's customers for their own benefit, giving the technology to IBM and ultimately to the Indian Railways and possibly others".

OneIndia News

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