Since the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act in 1980, there has been a steady rise in the commercialization of university intellectual property. While much of this progress can be attributed to faculty researchers, new data from the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) suggests that students are more prepared than ever to amass and monetize their own patent portfolios.
In a survey of 90 academic institutions from 15 countries, researchers learned that nearly half of all schools produce between six and 25 patentable or copyrightable student inventions each year. What's more, the percentage of universities yielding more than 26 inventions annually was four points higher than those with five or fewer.
"In a time when countries around the world are looking at how to enhance economic development, it is very exciting to be able to highlight another way in which universities are stimulating and bringing innovations to market as well as contributing to the education of tomorrow's business leaders," said AUTM vice president Phyl Speser.
Officials have suggested that the technical literacy and entrepreneurial curiosity of today's students has gone a long way toward fueling dynamic new ventures. However, the strong support structure provided by the university community can be seen in the fact that more than 70 percent of schools now have specific resources and policies in place regarding the development and ownership of student inventions.