If the current trend holds, faculty at the University of Iowa will set yet another record year for licensed IP, invention disclosures, and patent applications filed in FY2015.

There were 104 patent application filings as of Feb. 28 compared with 83 last year, a 20 percent increase from FY2014; 96 disclosures compared with 71, up 26 percent; and 25 licenses and options compared with 19, up 25 percent.

In 2014, the UI Research Foundation received the most invention disclosures in its 40-year history, with a 44 percent increase over both FY12 and FY13, and a 100 percent increase over FY09, FY10, and FY11.

UIRF Executive Director Zev Sunleaf said the rising numbers are likely caused by a growing desire among UI faculty to maximize the impact of their research. Many faculty now want to see their discoveries make it out of the lab where they can benefit others. They are finding they need to work closely with industry or launch their own startups to make that happen.

“We are also spending more time reaching out to faculty, staff and students to help them understand commercial applications of their research and the companies that can help move their technologies forward” Sunleaf said. 

The UIRF is also providing more feedback to researchers disclosing their discoveries, including information about patent and commercial landscapes that can help them determine the next steps towards commercialization and to help identify potential commercial partners.

Sunleaf said the UIRF will continue to expand its outreach both on campus and across the state and country to help ensure that promising UI technologies reach the public. He said the UIRF is working on a streamlined and simplified license agreement for UI startups. Sunleaf said the overarching goal is to make new venture creation on campus fast, fair and flexible.

The University of Iowa Research Foundation helps faculty, postdocs, students and staff commercialize their technologies through licensing and new venture creation. More at https://research.uiowa.edu/uirf/.

By Anne Easker