Intellectual Property (IP) theft in America & beyond
An architect's design solution is the core of creativity in architecture and must be protected
Almost all of my notable designs have been appropriated by powerful architects, clients, and/or developers. And it has been followed, practically always, by actively going after my professional reputation and economic viability.
Taking credit for someone else's designs is the worst violation of an architect's work. And putting the architect in such a vulnerable position, only encourages other powerful people to do the same.
Done repeatedly, and the damage, likely, is absolute — to the creator and to his/her potential contributions, to humanity and to architecture.
Protecting the architect's design solution "will serve to prevent a potentially devastating encroachment on the rights of creative and innovative architects, thereby preserving inspiration, innovation, and progress in architecture and urbanism." (New York Hospital 2000)
Peter Eisenman • Frank Gehry • Michael Graves • Philip Johnson • A. Eugene Kohn • Richard Meier • Cesar Pelli • William Pedersen • Robert A.M. Stern • Hugh Stubbins
1. 1968-1970 C. F. Murphy Associates (now Murphy/Jahn)
Stole my design for the largest project in the country
A day after I came to America, I knocked at C.F. Murphy's door and was interviewed by the office's design partner, Stan Gladish, who hired me on the spot. This was my first and great experience designing in America.
In 1969, C.F. Murphy got the commission for a 1,000 bed tertiary-care teaching hospital, on condition that it would produce its design within six months in order to qualify for government funding, and in order to be able to accomplish that, it should be handled only by partners. Gladish and the office's hospital-expert partner, Tom Mulig, produced six designs over six weeks period, all failed to meet approval of the state’s authorities. Standing to lose the commission, the firm agreed to present my design, which the authorities accepted enthusiastically.
Once the concept design was completed, (and Gladish became very ill) the firm’s new design partner, Gene Summers , gave me an offer I had no choice but refuse: He would give me all the perks I wanted, and he would take over my design.
The client, who was surprised to see in the following meeting a bastardized version of the project they approved, and could not see me anywhere, was told by Summers that I lost interest in the project and left the office. The client got in touch with me and tried to connect me with another established office so that we could go forward without C.F. Murphy.
Unfortunately, they could not accomplish it within the funding time-limit, and the project died.
It was my first experience with IP theft. Everyone lost.
2. 1970-1979 Philip Johnson/John Burgee Architects
I designed practically all the projects that came to the office at that period. Johnson and Burgee had conspired to take credit for my designs. While they had/have the commercial rights to my work, what they did not/do not have is the right to present themselves as the creators of these designs
Since 1979, Philip Johnson and John Burgee went out of their way in presenting themselves as the creators of my designs, actively putting it on the record in interviews & (many) books — ‘establishing’ themselves, PERSONALLY, as the designers.
Johnson & Burgee took credit of my designs for almost 40 projects. For some of those designs Johnson won the world’s highest architectural prizes.
(For more details see Philip &I)
2004- Philip Johnson/Alan Richie Architects (PJAR):
"[W]hen Philip Johnson retired, he expressed his confidence in passing on his legacy on to Alan Richie."
PJAR Architects Firm Profile
My legacy cannot be taken, nor given, to anyone.
Destroying my professional reputation and my economic viability
Philip Johnson and John Burgee created most of their damage by tirelessly finding ways to take credit for ten years of my design work, presenting me by default as a liar and a plagiarist.
But Johnson went further. See IP theft has no borders (Philip Johnson), below.
3. 1987-1988 New York Hospital (NYH)
NYH stole my design for the largest project in the country. The design which solved the problem that had frustrated eight leading national architectural firms for over 20 years, through 37 designs
They did it with the help of my (then) client developer & the newly appointed head of its Board of Governors Real-Estate Committee, Peter Kalikow (HJK&Co.), and their newly appointed architects, HOK/TCA.
They did it through an elaborate machination, by getting rid of me and giving the $46M-in-architectural-fees job to their friends, HOK/TCA, who proceeded to copy, even trace my design solution, and went forward from there, destroying the architectural integrity of the project.
In an attempt to protect my rights, my professional future and the future of the profession I devoted my life to, I took it to court.
(For more details see NYH Design backstory)
1994-2001 Through the legal system — all the way to the US Supreme Court.
The Second Circuit overhauled the architectural profession without a trial — without the aid of finders of fact, without the aid of direct testimony and cross examination, and without the aid of expert witnesses.
The Supreme court, which statistically chooses 1% to 2% of its caseload to go forward, unfortunately, did not include my case in their docket.
Richard Meier: "This is shocking" — Letter of support
"[The] most basic tenet in architecture" — My US Supreme Court Supplementary Brief (Pro Se)
Ten world leading architects — Statement of support to the US Supreme Court
Peter Kalikow & HOK — Under oath
On integrity — The story in more details
Destroying my professional reputation and economic viability.
4. 1988-1992 The Shalom (now Azrieli) Center
Developer, David Azrieli stole my design — the design that gave him the largest commercial development in Israel's history — and proceeded to abuse it
He did it with the help of his architect Avraham Yaski, his influential inner circle, and public officials.
In an elaborate international bidding/design competition of a mixed-use complex in Tel Aviv, the city wanted to get the highest bid for its land, while making sure the design was commensurate with the significance of the site and the City’s goal to make Tel Aviv an international city by the 21st century.
Azrieli's credentials did not qualify him to participate in the competition unless he would hire an architect of international stature. (Yaski did not qualify.)
Azrieli lost his bid by $6M. The city awarded him the project anyway, solely on the merits of my design.
Within a day of winning the competition, Azrieli — who, as it turned out, impersonated as an architect throughout his career (including flagging fake diplomas) — fired me, claimed he designed the project, hired Yaski, and with his collaboration gained control over the Shalom Center's design and proceeded to severely violate it. ((In 1997, the District Court Judge, Sara Sirota, defined his violation as: "premeditated obliteration," "mutilation," and "abuse.") See 'highlights' below for detailed excerpts.
I turned to the courts to protect my creation.
1993-1997 Through the legal system — all the way to Israel’s Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court lost my file for two years enabling Azrieli the sufficient completion of the buildings, so that it became unreasonable to adhere to the lower court's decision to build the project EXACTLY as I designed it — the design that won the competition.
The District Court Decision v. Azrieli's version — Excerpts by Judge S. Sirota v. David Azrieli, Wikipedia
"The Shame of Shalom Center" — ENR Editorial (Engineering News-Record), the world premiere industry magazine)
"The Would-Be Architect" — The Gazette, Montreal, Azrieli's home base
"A devastating blow to architecture" (in Hebrew) — On the Supreme Court decision; and,
In-depth coverage (in Hebrew) — Both by Moshe Lichtman, Real estate editor & investigative reporter, Globes, Israel.
Destroying my professional reputation and economic viability
2+3+4 1993 Philip Johnson & NYH to Azrieli’s rescue
As was uncovered in the Shalom Center's court proceedings, past predators had been all too eager to give a new predator all the help he could get
David Azrieli, a developer (see the Shalom Center above), who had been challenged by me in court for stealing and "mutilating" my design, asked Philip Johnson & New York Hospital to participate in destroying my professional reputation.
Specifically, he asked both to write a letter declaring that my claims (in my brochures) that I designed all those projects for Johnson/Burgee and the new NYH — were all lies.
(Responding to my demands, the day his letter was presented by Azrieli in an arbitration — that he would retract immediately otherwise I would be forced to take him to court — Philip, surprised I knew of letter #1, explained that he was "frightened" by Azrieli's daughter, Naomi, and proceeded to, Instantly, correct the record.
See letter #2.)
While the two letters together say it all, Azrieli (until his death) and his influential inner circle to this day, can use letter #1 only for their ongoing campaign to destroy me professionally.
New York Hospital
(Written by Fritz Reuter, who was NYH representative overseeing the stealing of my design and giving it to HOK/TCA.)
For the past 20 years I have devoted most of my time to developing technologies that will solve one of humanity’s most critical needs — shelter for its citizens.
5. 2010- Google Inc.
Google stole and exploited the trade secrets of Engineered Architecture (EA) technology that are based on my life's work. (EA technology is my first of seven technologies.)
In 2011, after five months of due-diligence, Google X, in an executive summary directed to Google leadership, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, concluded that Engineered Architecture technology could half construction costs of large buildings and skyscrapers, and that the technology has the potential to generate $120 billion in annual revenue.
At the time, Google's revenue was valued at $37.9 billion, meaning that EA technology stood to provide more than three times Google's revenue at the time.
After realizing the enormity of my technology's market value, Google wrote in a June 2011 letter to construction industry leaders that in having this technology: "Google sees the potential of global construction industry to power its next stage of growth." (Bold added.)
Google proceeded to steal it.
The founder and head of Google X, Sebastian Thrun, called me and said:
“Genie [Google's code name for EA technology (EA)] is spinning out, it’s spinning out without you unfortunately, and that is that. It’s a miserable situation because it’s true that you got to Google with your life’s vision to implement what’s happening, and the fact that you are not part of it is the worst part of all. But there is nothing I can do about it. So you have to take it.” ... Avoiding "a big legal battle," "that's my main goal."
2014- Through the legal system
I sued Google in 2014 for misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract.
They have been trying to throw me out of court ever since.
(Eli Attia and Eli Attia architect PC, Plaintiffs, v. Google Inc., Flux Factory Inc., Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Sebastian Thrun, Eric “Astro” Teller, Michelle Kaufman, Jennifer Carlile, Augusto Roman, Nicholas Chim, and Does 1-100, Defendants.)
2017- Racketeering (18 U.S.C. §§ 1961, ET SEQ.)
Was added to my original claims.
“FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION (For racketeering under 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c) [Conducting or participating in racketeering] against all Defendants by all Plaintiffs).
1. Defendants have a long history of theft of others intellectual property which continues to date and which constitutes a pattern of racketeering activity...
Theft of others intellectual property is the Google and Flux Factory Enterprise’s regular way of doing business
2. Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Google Inc., and its associates have participated in a criminal enterprise.
3. Defendants have committed acts of racketeering causing harm to Plaintiffs.”
The RICO claims was accepted by the State Court, dismissed by the Federal Court, and are now on appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The original claims of misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract are now back in State court. The trial is scheduled for September 2020.
Destroying my professional reputation and economic viability
Thrun, abruptly, unilaterally and in breach of our contract:
All while the machination of stealing my life's work was carried in full force.
Surpassing their preceding predators (see all of the above) — Google has been pursuing the destruction of my professional reputation as part of its defense for stealing my life's work:
"The Court is persuaded that evidence tending to rebut Mr. Attia's claim that he possess the credentials and expertise of a leading architect is relevant to the claims and defenses in this case". Order re joint discovery letter #6
After 50 years of exceptional professional accomplishments — armed with breakthrough technologies humanity desperately needs — I have been defined by my latest and largest predator as an impostor.
And while I own all the rights to go forward and make all my technologies a reality — by stealing and exploiting my EA technology's trade secrets, and, at the same time, following their predecessors in tarnishing my reputation:
Google has been depriving humanity, for the past seven years and going — of applying these technologies to benefit all.