Number of patents, startups at Purdue higher than ever

 

WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana – July 20, 2015 – For the second straight year, Purdue University posted record-breaking numbers in commercialization activities, including 40 startups, 25 of which are based on Purdue-licensed intellectual property, officials announced Friday.

From fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2015, which ended June 30, increases in commercialization activities filed through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization and Purdue Foundry also included:

Invention disclosures filed: 284 to 317 for a 12 percent increase.

Global and U.S. patents issued: 156 to 178 for a 14 percent increase.

Licensing deals: 241 technologies licensed to 131 entities.

“It was certainly cause to celebrate last year’s record in commercialization activities, but to follow such an occurrence with another record-breaking year demonstrates that there is something bigger happening at Purdue,” said President Mitch Daniels in a Purdue news release.

In a recent report released by the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association, Purdue was ranked 16th in the world, up from 36th in 2012, among universities granted U.S. utility patents.

“When an invention happens, it is important to protect the idea,” said Dan Hasler, president of the Purdue Research Foundation.

This is done by disclosing the idea to the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC). Those disclosures are then turned into patent applications, which then hopefully become issued patents. Those patents can then be sold to companies and startups who want the right to use the invention.

“That’s why when you look at the commercialization numbers ... and you see that number going up – the reason that’s important is that means that more companies are seeing the technology coming out of Purdue as valuable and are willing to pay Purdue for it,” explained Hasler.

Hasler hopes when the patents are licensed, the first thing the companies will want to do is come back to Purdue and hire the lab or faculty members to continue to develop the technology.

“I’m a big fan of ‘The Lion King,’” said Hasler. “ ... This is the (circle) of commercialization and it’s the same as ‘The Lion King’s’ (circle) of life. You can jump on anywhere you want, but just imagine a circle that starts with dollars into the University, inventions created, patents issued, patents licensed and dollars back to the University, either through royalty revenue or through continued corporate-sponsored research.”

This cycle is important to helping faculty, students and staff have their inventions become relevant in the world.

“Everybody has an innate desire to want to matter, to be relevant,” said Hasler. “Some of these faculty members have spent 30 years working on their inventions. I can think of of no better way to honor their life’s work than to have that invention helping somebody live a longer, healthier, happier life ... It’s not about the money; it’s about mattering.”

Despite the record-breaking commercialization numbers, Hasler says he is “completely unsatisfied.”

“As good as these numbers are – and I want to take five minutes and celebrate them – Purdue is capable of so much more,” Hasler said. “I think as we have more and more people that do this activity, that start companies, that license technologies, pretty soon we’ll have enough people doing this that there’s no way it will ever reverse.”

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