Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Chasing Patent Money

Universities are increasingly trying to make the most out of what's invented within their walls, the Los Angeles Times reports, adding that the University of California system took in some $108 million in 2014 from its patents.

More and more schools are setting up technology transfer offices to help researchers patent their inventions and market them to private companies, hoping to receive licensing fees, royalties, and stock holdings in return, it adds. A recent report from the Association of University Technology Managers surveyed 200 universities and found an 11 percent increase in the number of patents issued in 2014, as compared to 2013, the LA Times notes. The biggest earner, it adds, was Northwestern University with $360 million, bolstered by its sale of its remaining royalty rights to the pain reliever Lyrica.

Within the UC system, the LA Times reports that, in 2014, UCLA brought in the most from its inventions, followed by UCSF and UCSD. UC officials tell it that the revenue goes back into the UC system, after subtracting legal fees, payments to inventors, and other costs, coming to some $58 million in 2014.

"This is not a financial solution for the woes of the university," William Tucker, the UC system's interim vice president for research and graduate studies, says.

But the funds it does generate don't have the strings that are often attached to grants and donations. Such flexibility "is something that makes this money very valuable," Fred Farina, Caltech's chief innovation and corporate partnerships officer, adds.