Wednesday, November 14 , 2018, 12:41 pm | Fair 72º

 
 
 
 

Number of UCSB Patents, Inventions Rises in 2008

At the close of fiscal 2008, 46 percent of UCSB's active inventions were under some form of commercial licensing agreement

From the atomic force microscope to light-emitting diodes, UCSB has cemented its place as a world leader in scientific advancements and inventions. Now, thanks to UCSB’s growing research enterprise, the campus has seen the number of inventions and patents — and the income they generate — rise dramatically in the past three years.

UCSB had 611 active inventions in its 2008 portfolio, which also includes 316 active U.S. patents. That compares with 572 active inventions and 302 U.S. patents in 2007, and 480 inventions and 280 patents in 2006. In addition, UCSB had 103 new invention disclosures in 2008. Historically, the University of California system has been a national leader in inventions and patents.

The UCSB portfolio also included 38 new licensing agreements in 2008, entered into with companies interested in developing products based on UCSB research. At the close of fiscal 2008, a full 46 percent of UCSB’s active inventions were under some form of commercial licensing agreement.

“We try to get the technologies invented by UCSB researchers into the marketplace, so that they can help the economy and society,” said Michael Witherell, vice chancellor for research. “We have a small, efficient team of patent and licensing experts who are able to achieve that end.”

In fiscal 2008, UCSB produced total utility patent income of $3.88 million. That’s an increase of more than $1.5 million from 2006, when the university reported income of $2.316 million. The increase is due, in part, to the work of the Office of Technology & Industry Alliances.

“We have the pleasure of working with companies that are enthusiastic and talented,” said Sherylle Mills Englander, director of the Office of Technology & Industry Alliances. “The quality of the companies we work with makes a big difference in successfully translating UCSB research into products that benefit the public.”

The patent business is a complex, sometimes mind-boggling maze. “Each material, each design, each component and each step of the manufacturing process can be covered by multiple patents,” Englander said. “Even a big, high-tech company might control only a fraction of the potential patents covering their process.”

The university had a patent cost reimbursement rate of 83 percent in 2008. That compares with 67 percent reimbursed in 2006, and 80 percent in 2007.

“Universities have limited resources to support research and education, particularly in today’s economic climate,” Englander said. “To manage these limited resources responsibly, university technology transfer offices typically require licensees to reimburse the university for patent costs for the inventions that they license and directly commercialize. Our percentage of reimbursement is among the highest in the UC system. This statistic, coupled with the relatively high percentage of inventions under a licensing arrangement, demonstrate that UCSB research is clearly relevant to today’s technology challenges.”

Englander is proud of the diversity of the UCSB portfolio of inventions and patents. While some University of California campuses have a very high proportion of their income from just one or two patents, UCSB has 33 percent of its income based on the atomic force microscope. The other 67 percent comes from hundreds of other inventions.

The atomic force microscope (AFM) was developed by Paul Hansma, professor of physics at UCSB, and his research group. The Hansma AFM served as a prototype for the commercially successful AFMs developed and marketed by Digital Instruments, a Santa Barbara company later acquired by Veeco Instruments. While the UCSB patent on the AFM expired this year, the university has seen a steady stream of income for almost 20 years as a result of Hansma’s invention.

The AFM is an example of research that generates patents, which often lead to spinoff companies, many located in the Santa Barbara area. More than 90 local companies have been established by UCSB alumni, with nine new companies formed in 2008 based on UCSB technology.

 

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >