Profiting from Patents
The sports drink Gatorade, the anti-cancer drug Taxol, and the technology used in DVD players are only a few of the beneficial and profitable products developed by university research labs.
According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, colleges and universities in the United States collected more than $576 million in royalties from inventions licensed to industry in fiscal 1998. The University of California System topped the list, with its campuses earning more than $73 million.
Columbia University, which patented the digital-compression technology used in DVD players; Florida State University, which patented Taxol; and the University of Florida, which patented Gatorade, are among other schools at the top of the royalty list.
The University of Wisconsin became the first university to pursue licensing when it formed the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) in 1925 to commercialize Professor Harry G. Steenbocks discovery of how to use ultraviolet radiation to produce vitamin D in milk. Today, WARF has more than 600 discoveries available for licensing to companies throughout the world, including a pharmaceutical compound that diminishes the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and a method for monitoring the immunological status of transplant recipients.
also hopes to capture a piece of such royalties. It established an Office of Technology Development
in 1998 under the direction of
Narayan Bhat, dean of research and graduate studies, is pleased with the progress SMU has made in only a few short years. "For a school our size, we are doing very well," he says.
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