October 27, 2020, Sarah Hibbs-Shipp, CSU Ventures

For the first time, Colorado State University has cracked the top 100 list for academic institutions worldwide earning U.S. patents.  The National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association has published the top 100 list annually since 2013.   This year, CSU ranked 96th, with 29 published U.S. utility patents.  The number of patents published ranges from 631 (The Regents of the University of California) to 27 (seven institutions tied for the 99th ranking – including University of Connecticut, Washington State University, and Wayne State University).

“The institutions included in this year’s report are leading innovation worldwide through their encouragement of academic discovery and invention,” said Paul R. Sanberg, NAI president. “We are proud to collaborate with the IPO for the eighth consecutive year to highlight universities that have made critical contributions to society.”  There are 57 member institutions of the NAI represented this year in the Top 100. They hold an aggregate total of 4,685 patents spanning a wide variety of fields, such as medicine, technology and engineering. The IPO Top 300 Patent Owners List, published annually since 1985, ranks organizations worldwide that received the most U.S. utility patents during the previous calendar year.

CSU’s 29 U.S. utility patents were the work of more than 40 CSU faculty and staff inventors spanning three colleges (Agriculture, Engineering, Natural Science), and 16 departments.  Of note, Susan James, professor of Mechanical Engineering and the new Vice Provost for Faculty affairs was awarded four U.S. utility patents in 2019.  Four other professors were recipients of two U.S. utility patents each – Drs. Travis Bailey, Melissa Reynolds, Eugene Chen, Steven Dow.

“As a US Land-Grant University, we are especially excited to see that CSU ranked 8th among the top 14 Land-Grant peers,” says Todd Headley, President of CSU Ventures.  “CSU’s entry into the NAI/IPOA’s Top 100 List is consistent with our continued efforts to advance global impact of CSU innovations, and is consistent with our advancement in Milken Institute’s rankings of university technology transfer.”

In the last five years, CSU has had more than 700 unique inventors submit innovations to CSU Ventures, with over 1300 unique inventors submitting innovations in the last 10 years.  The upward trend in unique inventors and corresponding trend in increased invention disclosures has made it possible to achieve this milestone in US utility patents awarded.

This year’s report on 2019 patents, published May 18, lists the total number of patents for 2019’s Top 100 universities (including U.S. and international universities) to be 7,873, an increase of 1,046 patents over the previous year.  “University patents ignite a culture of growth and innovation which in turn stimulates the economy,” said Jessica Landacre, IPO executive director. “The Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents demonstrates which institutions excel in this arena.”