Hebrew University backs down on Mobileye claim

Amnon Shashua Photo: PR

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has decided to forego $300 million it was claiming from the Mobileye-Intel deal.

Why did the Hebrew University of Jerusalem abandon its claim to $300 million from the Mobileye-Intel deal to which it recently believed it was entitled? Sources inform "Globes" that the university's board of governors convened on Sunday and decided to withdraw its demand from Mobileye and its cofounder, Professor Amnon Shashua. The majority decision was opposed by board members Michael Federmann (board chairman) and Yissum Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem chairman Dr. Itamar Borowitz.

The board abandoned the university's claim despite the fact that just before Intel acquired Mobileye for $15.3 billion, Shashua obtained signatures from three board of governors members (Hebrew University president Menahem Ben-Sasson, director-general Billy Shapira, and rector Asher Cohen) on a letter waiving any claim or right to Mobileye's intellectual property on the false pretext that he needed to present such a letter to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. He concealed from these three board members that the deal would be signed within a few days. The letter also stated that the university would consider the relations between all of its employees and Mobileye within 90 days, and the parties would negotiate on the need for compensation to the university, if any.

The reason for the false pretext that Shashua later gave to his university colleagues was that he could not reveal insider information about the deal.

Mobileye, founded by partners Shashua and Ziv Aviram, developed a technological system that warns about driving hazards on the road. A dispute recently emerged between the university and Mobileye, after Yissum demanded information from Mobileye about future royalties to which Shashua and anyone else working simultaneously at Hebrew University and Mobileye were entitled. Yissum asserted that Mobileye originated at the university, and its intellectual property was developed with the aid of university researchers and students.

In response, Shashua resigned his position as a lecturer at the Hebrew University School of Computer Science and Engineering. Mobileye responded to the university's demand with an absolute refusal to provide the information, stating that the company and Shashua owed nothing to the university, and that the relations between the parties had been settled in 2004, and that Mobileye had given some of its shares to the university as part of this settlement.

In a document signed in March this year, Hebrew University admitted that it had no part in Mobileye. The university chose to begin a clarification with Mobileye through lawyers, although the relations between it and Mobileye had ostensibly been settled already. The university raised no monetary demand or claim to entitlement to proceeds from the Mobileye deal; it sought information that would enable it to consider these questions.

Sources inform "Globes," however, that senior figures at Hebrew University have already calculated that the university is entitled to $300 million from Mobileye for its contribution to the company.

Asked by "Globes" why the university had abandoned in advance its clarification of the rights and money due it, especially in view of the alleged trick played by Shashua in order to obtain signatures on a waiver document from members of the university board of governors, the university and Mobileye jointly said in response, "The settlement between Mobileye and Hebrew University originates in an agreement signed in 2002. The university did not, and does not, demand any additional royalties following the Intel transaction. A letter from the university's management dated March 2017 confirms this. Relations between the university and Mobileye are making a great contribution to research at the university."

Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on September 6, 2017

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017

Amnon Shashua Photo: PR
Amnon Shashua Photo: PR
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