Former student says PSU instructor stole his business idea


Jorge Guzman says Portland State University instructor Wilson Zehr stole his idea to sell balsa surfboards.

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Jorge Guzman says Portland State University instructor Wilson Zehr stole his idea to sell balsa surfboards.

Jorge Guzman says he had already launched a company to sell balsa boards with the basic strategy Yana Surf is now using. He says he shared his idea with Zehr, who was his class instructor at the time. Then, he says, Zehr ran with the idea, took control of the company’s assets and shoved him out of the picture.

Zehr says Guzman’s business had no hope of going anywhere. He responded to his student’s pleas for help, and purchased the assets of Guzman’s surfboard company before starting his own. “The idea of selling surfboards,” Zehr says, “was hardly original.”

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