In Search of University Patents
Technology Transfer Tactics, in conjunction with FreePatentsOnline, has created a site (link below) which they state can allow the visitor to view all of a given university’s patents by just clicking on the name of the institution. However, while this is an interesting tool to get a snapshot of a university’s recent activity, it does not include “all of their patents, from the most recent to the oldest.” For example, clicking on the University of Minnesota (a client of SLW) shows 296 documents, mostly published patent applications, back to about 2002, plus some older reissues and plant patents. If you search for their in-force pharmaceutical patent U.S. Pat. No. 5,567,703, you can find it via FreePatentsOnline, but it is not listed as a University of Minnesota patent under “University of Minnesota.” Click on Iowa State and there are only eight patents that are not in the 7 million series; this does not comprise all of their unexpired patents. A more minor quibble is that many non-profit research institutions with substantial portfolios, such as RCT and Scripps, are not included. Also, it would have been helpful to show the legal name of the assignee of the patent documents, not just the popular name. A number of universities don’t have inventors, they simply assign applications to “The University of X,” or have changed the name of the entity that holds their patents. In summary, this is an interesting site to visit, but it is not ready for prime time analyses quite yet.
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