The University of Missouri System ended a two-year patent lawsuit when it reached a confidential settlement with a former pharmacy professor accused of profiting from stolen student research without the school’s permission.
In its official statement, the university announced that it dismissed the lawsuit against Ashim Mitra and withdrew its claims “regarding inventorship and acknowledges the inventors are properly named and that no additional parties should be included as inventors on the patents or patent applications.”
Terms of the settlement with the former University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) professor remain confidential. The university has not officially reacted but Mitra’s attorney said they were pleased with the resolution.
The long-standing dispute revolved around research conducted by UMKC student Kishore Cholkar which developed an effective way to treat dry eye using nanotechnology. Mitra allegedly received $1.5 million from stealing Cholkar’s research and stood to gain millions more because of royalties.
In the lawsuit filed in 2019, the university contended that the research, patents, and profit belonged to the school because Cholkar developed it as a graduate research assistant at UMKC.
The official complaint filed in federal court showed that Auven Therapeutics Management, a pharmaceutical development company in the US Virgin Islands, bought the research from Mitra. The company then resold it to Sun Pharmaceutical Industries for $40 million including royalties.
Mitra resigned from UMKC in 2019 after he was accused of making foreign graduate students do unnecessary tasks for him such as serve guests at social gatherings for fear of having their visas revoked.