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Professor Allegedly Steals Student’s Research/Trade Secrets–Is Blockchain Technology the Solution?

It was widely reported a few days ago that a pharmacy professor at the University of Missouri allegedly stole his gifted student’s research, sold it to a pharmaceutical company, and did not credit his student or the university with having made the discovery.

The alleged misappropriation of the student’s research took place sometime between 2008 and 2010.

Here’s one quote from a New York Times article titled, Former Missouri Professor Stole Student’s Research to Sell New Drug, Lawsuit Alleges: “The lawsuit said that Dr. Mitra and Mrs. Mitra [the professor and his wife] … or people responding to their orders, removed or destroyed Dr. Cholkar’s [the graduate student’s] laboratory notebooks that he used to document the experiments…

BLOCKCHAIN PROTECTION

If blockchain – a.k.a distributed ledger technology (DLT) – had been better known (DLT only started to gain traction with its use for cryptocurrency in 2009) this alleged theft may not have occurred.

The graduate student would have uploaded the research contained in his notebooks into a blockchain, and the professor would have been hardpressed to comfortably use it without the student and university’s permission.

ANOTHER OPINION

I emailed the CEO of Vaultitude, Dominik Thor, and asked for his comments about this reported lawsuit and here’s what he had to say:

“Indeed, this could have been prevented. Blockchain technology allows for the immutable documentation of intellectual property in a transparent and secure manner. Once registered (aka uploaded to the Blockchain), the data is safe from tampering while the owner can provide clear proof of its existence due to a so-called timestamp.”

Vaultitude is a browser-based application that uses Blockchain technology to optimally protect and manage intellectual property (IP).

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Ron Alvarez is an IP Investigations / Protection writer and licensed private investigator in New York City. He is a former NYPD lieutenant where he investigated robbery, narcotics, internal affairs, and fine art theft cases. Ron is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and earned a B.A. in Government and Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. He has published a number of articles on various investigative topics for PI Magazine. Ron is certified by the Interpol-International IP Crime Investigators College (IIPCIC.) as a "Transnational and Organized Crime Intellectual Property (IP) Investigator."

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