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Last modified: Wednesday, August 1, 2007

IU sees record increase in patent applications, start-up businesses

August 2, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University faculty and staff filed a record 116 patent applications in fiscal year 2007. The increase is likely the result of stepped-up university efforts to encourage its researchers to develop their academic work with an eye for the market.

IURTC 2007 patent applications filed

Patent applications filed with IURTC from FY 1996 to FY 2007

Print-Quality Photo

The IU Research & Technology Corporation, which keeps track of university technology transfer and development activities, also received 216 invention disclosures, executed 70 licenses and options and helped form five new businesses in FY '07 (through its Emerging Technologies Center), also a record.

"This is an exciting trend," said IURTC President and CEO Mark Long. "There's really a lot of activity on the Indianapolis and Bloomington campuses and a greater interest among researchers in seeing their efforts developed into something beneficial."

The previous record for patent applications by IU faculty staff was 97, in FY '03, and the previous record for start-ups created was four, in FY '04.

Long attributes the FY '07 records primarily to a surge in entrepreneurship on the Bloomington campus, which specializes in basic research and information technology, and at the IU School of Medicine in Indianapolis, which has seen a boom in research activity since dean D. Craig Brater took the school's reins in 2000.

Also in FY '07 licenses and options increased 10 percent over FY '06 and patents issued increased 20 percent over FY '06. The total number of invention disclosures received in FY '07 was 216, a decrease since FY '06 (257), but still demonstrative of an overall upward trend.

Long says quantity of patents and licenses shouldn't be confused with quality. Not every disclosure is destined for licensing, he explains, but says he's grateful that faculty are increasingly willing to discuss the possibility of technology development and transfer with his IURTC and IUETC staff.

"If we are going to patent something, we want to be very careful that there's a licensee out there," Long said. "The work we put into receiving and filing patents and licensing is significant, so it's important to all parties involved that we ensure there's someone interested in a technology before we file a patent."

To speak with Long or to receive a summary of fiscal year tech transfer indicators, please call 317-278-1901 or e-mail