In the preliminary findings released from a study due out later this year, the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) recently revealed that the number of patents issued to academic applicants rose to an all-time high in fiscal year 2011. In total, university researchers were responsible for the filing of nearly 20,000 U.S. patent applications last year and were awarded approximately 4,700 patents in return.
"This is a testament to how creative and resilient technology transfer professionals have been during this economic downturn," said AUTM president Todd Sherer. "These data also demonstrate how the investment in federal research, up 3 percent from 2010, continues to drive technology transfer."
Fiscal year 2011 saw a 14 percent rise in patent licensing, according to the report, alongside a 3 percent increase in the number of startups formed and a 7 percent increase in those remaining operational.
According to the University of Georgia student newspaper, the school enjoyed a transformative year for technology transfer in 2011 to pull in almost $7 million in licensing revenue alone on the strength of its agricultural and pharmaceutical innovations. Northwestern University was at the head of the class, however, generating more than $190 million in licensing revenue last year.