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Updated 11:00 AM March 8, 2004



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U-M in top 10 of universities awarded most patents

U-M has placed among the top 10 institutions awarded the most patents in 2003, a sign of the significant research being performed across campus.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's ranking puts U-M at No. 8 in the country with 63 patents awarded last year.

"It's great to see Michigan among the top 10 universities awarded patents in 2003. This recognition attests to the inventiveness of our faculty," says Fawwaz Ulaby, vice president for research. "I also want to acknowledge the efforts of the Office of Technology Transfer, which has worked very hard to increase the number of patent applications sent forward."

The University of California system, which includes nine campuses, topped the list with 439 patents. The California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology followed with 139 and 127 patents, respectively.

President Mary Sue Coleman cited the University's ranking during her recent testimony before the state Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education Appropriations as a sign of the contribution University research makes to Michigan's economy.

This is the first time U-M has made the top 10 on this list, says Mark Maynard, marketing manager at Tech Transfer.

"We're pleased about this not only because it speaks to the strength of the technology coming out of programs from across campus, but because it also reflects the fact that more and more faculty are becoming engaged in the process of technology transfer," Maynard says.

Further supporting this point, he notes that the office received 158 invention disclosures from faculty in 1999, and 257 in 2003. An invention disclosure is a written notice of invention that begins the formal tech transfer process.

The 2003 patents were issued for projects including: collapse-resistant frame structure with autoadaptive response characteristics; phased array ultrasound system and method for cardiac ablation; non-toxic antimicrobial compositions and methods of use; pharmaceutical composition and uses of water-soluble, high-viscosity grade cellulose ethers; surgical knife for cataract surgery; and reconfigurable optical part measurement system.

Maynard says a large percentage of the technologies for which U-M was awarded patents last year already have been licensed to industry and are making their way to market.

"The fact that we made this top 10 list, while confirming the fact that we've got great technology, is just part of the picture," Maynard says. "We're also becoming more and more successful at finding the right corporate partners to help bring these innovations to the world as products and services that can positively impact society."

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