Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, September 16, 2011

New patent law will benefit U-M inventors

President Obama's signing of the America Invents Act — the first major overhaul of U.S. patent law in 60 years — will help U-M scientists as the patent system will be more predictable and efficient, university officials say.

"University research is at the core of our nation's competitiveness," says Stephen Forrest, vice president for research. "This legislation clarifies and simplifies the process by which many of the most promising ideas arising in academia are transferred to the marketplace. It also provides for the opening of the first satellite office in Detroit, the heart of a region that manufactures products for America and the world."

Kenneth Nisbet, executive director of Tech Transfer, says the university is awarded an average of 80 patents per year and more than 300 new discoveries are generated at U-M every year.

"Patents are essential to the successful commercialization of the majority of these discoveries, enabling our licensees to make the market investments necessary for success," he says. "Having an effective patent system is essential to the university tech transfer process, a process that delivers economic benefits and enhances our quality of life.

"The America Invents Act promises to modernize our patent system and increase the efficiency of the patenting approval process. These transactional advantages should enhance the University of Michigan's capacity to contribute to the economic vitality of our region and our nation."

U-M has a rich tradition in invention and innovation, and has long played a leading role in converting ideas into new products to help expand the economy and create jobs. U-M's major initiatives can be found at its Innovation Economy website.