UC Leads U.S. Universities in Total Patents
For the 12th consecutive year, the University of California is the leader among the nation’s universities in developing new patents, according to a report published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and announced last month by the UC Office of the President.
The report presents a preliminary list of U.S. universities receiving the most patents for invention (i.e., utility patents) during the 2005 calendar year. The final list is expected this December.
Last year, UC recorded a total of 390 patents. UC Santa Barbara accounted for 38 of those patents, up six patents from 2004 and placing it fifth out of nine campuses, excluding the three national laboratories. (UC Merced opened in the fall 2005.)
“Inventions from UCSB and other top research universities fill society’s needs and drive economic growth,” said Michael Witherell, UCSB vice chancellor for research. “The number and quality of UCSB patents demonstrate the rich environment for innovation that has developed on campus.”
A model invention at UCSB has been the serial improvements to the atomic force microscope by physicist Paul Hansma and several colleagues. “This work is an excellent example of academic entrepreneurship,” said Witherell.
Notable past UC patents have included the hepatitis-B vaccine, treatments for aneurysms, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, inner ear implants, the nicotine patch, aids for the learning disabled, and a wide variety of new types of fruits and vegetables, according to UC’s release.
In FY 2004-05, UC faculty and researchers disclosed over 1,300 new inventions. Overall, the UC system’s invention portfolio is comprised of nearly 7,400 active inventions. Total licensing revenues were $109.6 million in FY 2004-05, a portion of which is re-invested into research and education on UC campuses.
In California, UC research and work force development has been crucial in the state’s economic growth and global competitiveness, especially in the key industry clusters of biotechnology, telecommunications, information technology, and electronics manufacturing. UC scientists and engineers have founded more than 300 R&D-intensive firms in the state.
In biotech, one in three California R&D firms—and one in six publicly traded firms nationwide—was founded by UC scientists, and 85 percent employ UC alumni with graduate degrees. In communications, information technology, and networking, one in six California R&D firms was founded by a UC scientist or engineer.