Another Day, Another Patent

Jason Resch (CS '06) was awarded three patents today. Ho hum.

By Steve Hendershot

Ordinarily, three patents in a single day would represent a banner achievement for a software engineer. Even three patents spread over the course of a career would constitute an impressive body of work. Yet for Resch, a notice from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) just means it’s Tuesday—he received another patent two weeks ago, another the week before that, and three more the week before that. In all, Resch, 30, has received 58 patents since joining Chicago-based cloud-storage company Cleversafe, Inc. as an IIT undergraduate in 2005.

IIT alumnus Jason Resch stands by a Cleversafe data center in the Chicago office. The center contains rows of server racks, each of which contains up to 40 separate computers, and is used for internal testing, development, and research purposes.
Photo by: Michael Goss

The company, founded in 2004 by IIT Board of Trustees member Chris Gladwin and incubated on campus from 2005 to 2007, markets advanced cloud-based, security-focused object-storage products to organizations that collect enormous amounts of data online. Cleversafe’s clients can store hundreds of petabytes of data online—for reference, 100 petabytes (100 million gigabytes) is the equivalent of all the photos and videos uploaded by Facebook users around the world as of 2012, when the social network filed for its initial public offering. Resch signed on with Cleversafe as an IIT undergraduate, helping to build the company’s object-storage software for years before its first deployment in 2010. The company raised $55 million in venture capital last year and boasts such customers as the photo-sharing site Shutterfly and In-Q-Tel, a firm that vets technology for use by intelligence organizations like the Central Intelligence Agency.

Cleversafe’s cutting-edge technology appealed to Resch, who built a 50,000-user Internet chat service while still a Rhode Island teenager before moving to Chicago for college in 2002. He thrives on the constant innovation that Cleversafe requires.

“It’s a brand-new technology and a new way for storing data, and there are many unexplored possibilities around that idea. The more we develop around it, the more room for further innovation we find,” says Resch.

Cleversafe outgrew its offices on campus in 2007 and is now based in the Loop. Resch, who answered tech-support phone calls for two years as a student, remains close to the university, living in Chicago’s nearby Bridgeport neighborhood with a former college roommate who also now works at Cleversafe. Indeed, the IIT–Cleversafe pipeline is strong: the company counts 19 IIT graduates among its 125 employees. Among the 18 engineers on Resch's team, seven are IIT alumni.

Among the IIT alumni working at Cleversafe, Resch is a crown jewel, according to Gladwin.

“When I first met Jason in 2005, he came across as a person with a very special intellect and enormous potential,” he says. “Since then, he’s proven himself as not only a brilliant software engineer but also one of the most prolific inventors of his generation.”

Once a patent application is filed, it typically takes the USPTO at least three years to issue formal approval. That means that Resch’s recent patent hot streak is based on work done years ago. His 58 patents are just the beginning; he has approximately 200 more pending.

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