Is a Carlson student product an innovation — or a stolen idea?

“To do it the way they did it, it’s just not right to be taught that in school. That’s almost plagiarism, and they got the whole school backing up the knowledge and marketing.”

— Ron Ely, co-founder of StepNpull, who told the Star Tribune that some Carlson School of Management students created a rival copycat product, the Toepener, which they based on his company’s device after pumping him for information for a “class project.”

Former dean Alison Davis-Blake has reportedly told StepNpull that some of the students’ actions were unacceptable. One of them has apologized, though another — the student project’s CEO, former student Maxwell Arndt — says he did nothing wrong.

(Almost sounds like a page from the script of The Social Network.)

One of the results? Students in the business class won’t be allowed to use their academic status to get confidential information from companies.

Read the full Star Tribune story here.