‘Wholesale copying’: Israel’s Orca Security sues rival Wiz for patent infringement

Israeli cybersecurity unicorn files lawsuit accusing competitor of intentionally pilfering its tech, its messaging, ‘even the coffee it uses at trade shows’

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

Orca Security co-founders Avi Shua, right, and Gil Geron. (Courtesy)
Orca Security co-founders Avi Shua, right, and Gil Geron. (Courtesy)

Israeli cybersecurity unicorn Orca Security is suing cloud security rival Wiz for patent infringement alleging that its success and growth is built on “wholesale copying.”

According to the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court, District of Delaware, on Wednesday, Orca accuses Wiz of the illegal “flagrant, ongoing, and unauthorized use of Orca’s patented technologies,” which monitor data stored on cloud servers against cyberthreats and vulnerabilities.

“Wiz has built its business on a simple business plan: copy Orca,” Orca said in the suit. “This copying is replete throughout Wiz’s business and has manifest in myriad ways.”

“In its marketing, Wiz copies Orca’s imagery, its message, and even the coffee it uses at trade shows,” it is claimed in the complaint.

Wiz was co-founded in early 2020 – just a year after Orca – by Assaf Rappaport, Yinon Costica, Ami Luttwak, and Roy Reznik, the same team that founded the firm Adallom (sold to Microsoft for $320 million in 2015) and led Microsoft Azure’s Cloud Security Group. Almost three years later, the US-Israeli cybersecurity startup was valued at a staggering $10 billion after raising $300 million in its latest private funding round earlier this year.

The company was established just as the COVID-19 pandemic started gaining pace around the world, sending entire enterprises and workers online and spurring a huge migration wave to the cloud. Headquartered in New York, Wiz employs 650 people, 150 of whom work in Israel.

Wiz’s offices in Tel Aviv. (Courtesy)

Orca is also accusing Wiz of hiring away its former patent attorney to copy its “intellectual property and even the figures from Orca’s patents.”

“In its products and services, Wiz has embedded a number of revolutionary inventions developed and patented by Orca, passed those inventions off falsely as Wiz innovations, and forced Orca to compete against its own technological breakthroughs in the marketplace,” Orca claims in the filing.

In the lawsuit action, Orca seeks financial damages for the alleged “intentional and deliberate” patent infringements from which Wiz has generated profits. It is also demanding that Wiz cease marketing and selling the products and services that it claims were copied.

Commenting on the lawsuit, Wiz rebuffed the allegations as “baseless accusations.”

“Orca has tried to compete with Wiz on several fronts and failed,” a Wiz spokesperson said. “Now they are pursuing less innovative methods.”

Orca was founded in 2019 by Avi Shua and Gil Geron, both of whom formerly held executive positions at the Israeli cybersecurity giant Check Point Software Technologies. The startup developed technology that secures the cloud, but it says that unlike competing tools that operate in silos, the firm treats the cloud as an interconnected web of assets, and weighs the risk based on the severity of the attack along with the potential damage it could do.

Back in October 2021, the cloud security unicorn raised $340 million at a post-money $1.8 billion valuation and with investments from the growth fund of Google’s parent company Alphabet and Redpoint Ventures. Since its inception, it has raised more than $600 million and its workforce has grown to more than 400 employees.

To date, Wiz has raised $900 million from investors, including Sequoia Capital, Insight Partners, Blackstone and G Squared, and is also backed by private investors and entrepreneurs such as Bernard Arnault and Starbucks founder Howard Schultz.

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