The University of Minnesota ranks 17th in the world—ninth among US public universities—on a recent list of universities granted the most US patents in 2019.
The “Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted US Utility Patents,” released by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), draws on data from the US Patent and Trademark Office to highlight the vital role patents play in university research and innovation. UMN has ascended the rankings continuously for the past five years, climbing from 50th in 2014.
“The University of Minnesota’s ranking among other highly regarded peer institutions known for their research output is further testament to the talent of our researchers here and to the enormous potential of their discoveries,” said Rick Huebsch, executive director of UMN Technology Commercialization, the office that assesses an invention’s patentability, determines market potential, files for patents, and negotiates licensing deals. “It is our mission to bring these discoveries into society and help ensure they benefit the public good.”
Patenting allows the University to protect the intellectual property behind new technologies and license them to companies or organizations that can develop them into products or services. The NAI and IPO ranking lists UMN as receiving 102 US utility patents in 2019, up from 89 the previous year.
The most recent UMN Technology Commercialization annual report notes that, for the fiscal year ending in June 2019, University researchers disclosed 391 new inventions and were granted a total of 187 US and foreign patents.
“University patents ignite a culture of growth and innovation, which in turn stimulates the economy,” said Jessica Landacre, IPO’s executive director, in a news release announcing the rankings. “The Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted US Utility Patents demonstrates which institutions excel in this arena.”
Technology commercialization offices have also played an important role during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, providing a bridge for COVID-19-related innovations to move beyond the lab and into society. A number of UMN technologies designed to prevent, diagnose, treat, or contain COVID-19 are now available for licensing through the COVID-19 Innovations page.