OTC News Archive

UT is third in world’s leading patent seekers

Lynn Freehill, The Alcalde
March 20, 2012

The only thing better than national bragging rights? International bragging rights.

With 127 published patent applications last year, The University of Texas System ranks third globally among academic patent-seekers, the most recent statistics show. (U.S. universities decisively lead the way among academic institutions worldwide in this area.) Only the University of California and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published more patent applications than UT, with 277 and 179, respectively.

Dan Sharp, interim director of UT Austin’s Office of Technology Commercialization, said Tuesday he was pleased with the numbers—particularly since UT Austin, which filed the vast majority of patents within the UT System, over the past 18 months has shifted its focus from quantity of patent applications to the quality and commercial viability of them. “If our numbers are particularly high, it’s encouraging, because we look closely at both of those components,” he said. “Technology is the driver. We do such good research at UT Austin that it allows us to do these things.”

The strength of patents is critical, Sharp added. “You can have a patent and it can be bad. The technology can cure death, but if the patent isn’t strong legally as well as technically, investors won’t put a nickel into it,” he said.

During the 2010-11 fiscal year, $25.6 million went back into the university from licensees paying royalties on technology, according to Sharp’s office.

All in all, it’s proof positive of the idea-creating, research-powering, commerce-generating economic engine that UT is for Texas—and while we’re at it, the country.

[ Alcalde ]