Pennsylvania State University will become the first university in America to auction off its intellectual property directly, according to Penn Live. The university announced early in March that it will auction off exclusive licenses to intellectual property of various kinds to companies interested in acquiring them. The first auction will run from March 31 to April 11, and companies will have their choice of several patents from Penn State's College of Engineering.
These patents include one for a vigilance monitoring system that can track the alertness of drivers, a patent for polycrystalline complex-shaped mesoscale components and a new method of treating water for perchlorate contaminants, according to Penn Live. Should the auction be successful, the university will consider auctioning intellectual property from some of its other departments. Don Mothersbaugh, senior technical specialist at Penn State's Office of Technology Management, has been pushing for this project for the past year and a half.
"A lot of times we patent something, and then 10 years later, the real world catches up to the technology itself," Mothersbaugh told Penn Live. "Other times we miss the boat, or it's just we haven't found the right partner. And so [we] said we have all these patents sitting on the shelf, rather than let them sit there and rot, let's just put them out there."