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National Academy of Inventors announces 2014 NAI Fellows

Academic inventors and innovators elected to high honor

TAMPA, Fla. (Dec. 16, 2014) – The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has named 170 distinguished innovators to NAI Fellow status.

Those named today bring the total number of NAI Fellows to 414, representing more than 150 prestigious research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutions.

Included among all of the NAI Fellows are 61 presidents and senior leadership of research universities and non-profit research institutes, 208 members of the other National Academies (NAS, NAE, IOM), 21 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, 16 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation, 10 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Science, 21 Nobel Laureates, 11 Lemelson-MIT prize recipients, 112 AAAS Fellows, and 62 IEEE Fellows, among other awards and distinctions.

Collectively, the 414 NAI Fellows hold nearly 14,000 U.S. patents.

Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.

The NAI Fellows will be inducted on Mar. 20, 2015, as part of the 4th Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations Andrew Faile will be providing the keynote address for the induction ceremony. Fellows will be presented with a special trophy, newly designed medal, and rosette pin in honor of their outstanding accomplishments.

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NAI member institutions dominate NSF

I-Corps Team Awards

Eight of the top 12 universities nationally are NAI members

TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 25, 2014) – The National Academy of Inventors today recognized NAI Member Institutions with teams selected in 2014 for the Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Team program by the National Science Foundation. The 82 teams from NAI member universities comprise 54 percent of all teams nationwide receiving I-Corps Team awards this year.

Among the top 12 universities receiving the awards, eight are from NAI member universities, including, at #1, University of Michigan with 13 teams; #3, University of South Florida with five teams; #4, Carnegie-Mellon University with four teams; and tied for #5 with three teams each, Arizona State University, Florida State University, Lehigh University, University of Akron, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Nationally, 153 teams from 91 universities were selected for I-Corps Team awards in 2014. Each team receives a $50,000 grant and participates in an I-Corps Teams curriculum designed to provide hands-on, immersive learning for researchers on what it takes to successfully transition research out of the laboratory into commercially feasible products that benefit society.

"We are proud our Member Institutions are leading the way in this groundbreaking program.” said Dr. Paul R. Sanberg, president of the National Academy of Inventors and a AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador. “Their work contributes to economic prosperity in their communities, states and our nation.”

The National Science Foundation (NSF) established the I-Corps Teams program to identify NSF-funded researchers, and provide them mentoring and funding in order to accelerate the translation of knowledge derived from fundamental research into emerging products and services.

“This is a powerful economic development initiative by the NSF,” said Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan, senior vice president in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development at Arizona State University, one of the top 12 universities receiving awards this year. “The I-Corps Team program is designed to create a national innovation ecology and will have a high impact."

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NAI member institutions receiving NSI I-Corps Team Awards in 2014

  • Arizona State University
  • Auburn University
  • Boise State University
  • Carnegie-Mellon University
  • Colorado State University
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Drexel University
  • Florida International University
  • Florida State University
  • Lehigh University
  • Louisiana Tech University
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • New Mexico State University
  • New York University
  • Ohio State University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Purdue University
  • Rutgers University New Brunswick
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • SUNY at Buffalo
  • SUNY at Stony Brook
  • Temple University
  • Texas Tech University
  • University of Akron
  • University of Arizona
  • University of California-Berkeley
  • University of California-Davis
  • University of Cincinnati Main Campus
  • University of Florida
  • University of Georgia Research Foundation Inc
  • University of Houston
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Kentucky Research Foundation
  • University of Maryland College Park
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • University of Michigan Ann Arbor
  • University of North Texas
  • University of South Carolina at Columbia
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Toledo
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison


Why technology transfer brings universities
'more than money'

Many benefits of tech transfer to universities beyond revenues from licenses & royalties

TAMPA, Fla. (June 26, 2014) – Academic technology transfer – the process of moving research from the lab to the market – provides intrinsic benefits to universities that go far beyond any potential revenues from licenses and royalties.

So say the authors, from five universities across the country and the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), in a new article from the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) that appears in the current issue of Technology and Innovation and is available Open Access.

"More than Money: The Exponential Impact of Academic Technology Transfer" is the work of lead author Valerie Landrio McDevitt, former associate vice president at the University of South Florida (USF) and current executive director of AUTM, and co-authors, Joelle Mendez-Hinds of USF, David Winwood of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Vinit Nijhawan of Boston University (BU), Todd Sherer of Emory University, John F. Ritter of Princeton University, and Paul R. Sanberg of USF and the NAI. USF, UAB, BU and Emory are all Charter Member Institutions of the NAI.

According to the authors, the positive benefits of technology transfer for universities can be significant, including: a vibrant culture of entrepreneurship that promotes recruitment and retention of faculty, increased student success through participation in real world research, public benefits from applied research that seeks to address global challenges, economic development, increased opportunities for funding through inter-institutional and interdisciplinary grants, new start-ups and international research relationships, and increased prestige and fundraising from a stronger university brand.

"In the academic setting, technology transfer is a critical component for facilitating and sparking innovation within universities and helping to connect universities with commercial partners in the community," says co-author Paul R. Sanberg, who is founder and president of the NAI. "Technology transfer can be truly transformational to a university and to the community."

The authors:

Valerie Landrio McDevitt, a registered patent attorney, is executive director of the Association of University Technology Manager (AUTM). She received her J.D. at Emory University School of Law. Prior to joining AUTM, she served as the associate vice president for technology transfer and business incubation at the University of South Florida. She previously worked as a science advisor with a House subcommittee in Washington, D.C., and participated in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellowship program.

Joelle Mendez-Hinds is a patent marketing intern in the Technology Transfer Office/Division of Patents & Licensing at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

David Winwood is chief executive officer of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Research Foundation and senior associate vice president for Economic Development and Innovation Alliances. Prior to joining UAB, Winwood served North Carolina State University and The Ohio State University. He is a member of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness Regional Innovation Initiative Expert Committee and serves on boards of directors for the Council on Governmental Relations, Biotechnology Association of Alabama, Birmingham Venture Club, Innovation Depot, and TechBirmingham.

Vinit Nijhawan, is managing director of the Office of Technology Development and director of Enterprise Programs at the Institute of Technology at Boston University, Entrepreneurship & Commercialization (ITEC) at BU. He received his B.A.Sc. in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. He has more than twenty-five years of experience building five startups and was CEO of three of them. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of TiE Global, a non-profit that fosters entrepreneurship globally; special assistant to the vice president of research; and director of the Kindle Mentoring Program at BU.

Todd Sherer, is associate vice president for research administration and executive director of the Office of Technology Transfer at Emory University. He received his Ph.D. in toxicology at Washington State University. Prior to joining Emory, he was director of the Office of Technology and Research Collaborations at Oregon Health & Science University. He served as president of AUTM and is a registered patent agent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

John F. Ritter, is director of the Office of Technology Licensing at Princeton University. Prior to joining Princeton, he served as a senior licensing professional at Rutgers University. He is secretary of the Review Panel on Conflict of Interest in Research. He received his J.D. from Rutgers School of Law and his M.B.A from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Paul R. Sanberg, is senior vice president for research and innovation and Distinguished University Professor at the University of South Florida, and founder and president of the National Academy of Inventors. He is an inventor on over 30 licensed health-related U.S. patents and a highly cited author with more than 600 publications. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, NAI, Royal Societies (Medicine, Chemistry and Public Health), AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador, and serves on the evaluation committee of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation for the U.S. Department of Commerce.



Top 100 Worldwide Universities in 2013 for Granted U.S. UTILITY Patents Announced

The NAI & IPO released the list of the Top 100 universities worldwide granted U.S. patents

TAMPA, Fla. (June 10, 2014) – The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) today announced the Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents in 2013.  The list, based on data obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, recognizes the important role patents play in university research.

The NAI and IPO compile the list each year by calculating the number of utility patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office which list a university as the first assignee on the printed patent.  The full list of Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted Patents in 2013 is here.

The top 15 universities on the list include: The University of California System, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tsinghua University (China), Stanford University, University of Texas, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Georgia Tech Research Corp, University of Michigan, University of Illinois, University of South Florida, National Taiwan University, University of Florida Research Foundation, Inc., and National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan).

“The NAI is pleased to be releasing this list of the top innovation universities in the world in conjunction with the IPO for the second year in a row,” said Paul R. Sanberg, president of the NAI. “Innovation based on university technology continues to be a key factor in economic development. The expansion of technology and innovation are fundamental to the success of a university.”

Concurrently, the IPO released their annual Top 300 Patent Owners list of organizations worldwide that received the most U.S. utility patents during 2013.  That list has been published by the IPO for 31 consecutive years.  The top 13 universities on the 2013 Top 100 Universities list also appear in the 2013 Top 300 Patent Owners list.

“Patents promote innovation and can increase potential research funding by providing corporations and businesses the incentive to invest in university projects,” said IPO Executive Director Herbert C. Wamsley.  “These innovations can help solidify the transfer of cutting-edge research to the marketplace, producing revenue and expanding the economy.”

“University researchers and inventors are creators of new solutions to existing difficulties, and, as such, are key to the advancement of technology,” said Sanberg.  “Protection of this innovative property, through patenting, strengthens the creation of new industries and employment.”

The information provided in this list is based on data obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Patents reported are utility patents granted during the 2013 calendar year. When a patent is assigned to one or more entities, credit is given to the first named entity. For inquiries or if you have a research foundation that should be combined with your university assignment in the future, contact: aturley@academyofinventors.org

About the IPO

Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), established in 1972, is a trade association for owners of patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. IPO is the only association in the U.S. that serves all intellectual property owners in all industries and all fields of technology. IPO advocates for effective and affordable IP ownership rights and provides a wide array of services to members, including: supporting member interests relating to legislative and international issues; analyzing current IP issues; information and educational services; and disseminating information to the general public on the importance of intellectual property rights. www.ipo.org



NaI Fellows publish paper on patents and commercialization for tenure in PNAS

The paper, in the current Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, grew out of an NAI panel entitled "Would Thomas Edison Receive Tenure?"

TAMPA, Fla. (April 28, 2014) – When six university leaders took the stage at the 2013 Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), held just over a year ago at the University of South Florida, they began a national conversation on changing the academic culture to recognize faculty patents and commercialization activity toward tenure and promotion. That conversation, according to NAI president Paul R. Sanberg, was long overdue.

The question posed to the panel, "Would Thomas Edison Receive Tenure," was answered with a clear "yes" and today, the paper that resulted—"Changing the academic culture: Valuing patents and commercialization toward tenure and career advancement"—was published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1404094111).

"Over the past several decades, university missions have expanded from teaching and research to include economic development and translating university-based research into real products that benefit society," says Sanberg, the paper's lead author and senior vice president for research and innovation at the University of South Florida. "It is time these accomplishments were recognized for the value they bring to the university and to the world, and our faculty inventors are rewarded for them."

The paper is the first policy paper published by the National Academy of Inventors. All of the authors are fellows or charter members of the NAI.

The authors say that, while research activities that translate to product commercialization should not replace traditional scholarly pursuits such as teaching, mentoring students and publishing research, patent and commercialization activities should be considered equally in decisions related to faculty tenure and academic advancement.

"The greatness of a university should not be measured by its research grants and contracts alone," write the authors. "Greatness is also measured by how the university impacts and changes for the better the world and society-at-large."

Future efforts to encourage a culture change that recognizes the value of faculty patents, licensing and commercialization activities can be enhanced by developing advocates for commercialization. The work of the National Academy of Inventors, a non-profit organization founded to recognize, encourage, and enhance the visibility of academic technology and invention, provides an example of such advocacy.

"The NAI and its university members and Fellows throughout the United States play an important role by encouraging innovation and bringing attention to the devalued role patents currently play in tenure and career advancement," says Sanberg.

The authors suggest that universities would do well to encourage and support bright young faculty and trainees to build careers that combine research and scholarship—the traditional academic paths to tenure and academic advancement—with translating that research to the market through patents, licenses, and the commercialization of their ideas and products to benefit society.

About the authors

Nasser Arshadi, Ph.D., is vice provost for Research and professor of Finance at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. He received his Ph.D. in financial economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has published extensively in economics and finance journals on capital markets and the microeconomics of corporations with an emphasis on assessing and managing risk, and has published two books on financial intermediation and insider trading. He serves on the editorial boards of Technology and Innovation and Public and Municipal Finance, and served as an economist and policy analyst at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. He is a member of the NAI.

Morteza Gharib, Ph.D., is vice provost for Research and Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Bioinspired Engineering at the California Institute of Technology, specializing in hydro and aerodynamics, biological flows, bio-inspired medical devices, and advanced flow visualization techniques. He co-founded Bioengineering Option at Caltech. He holds more than 50 U.S. patents in areas of biomedical devices and imaging technology. He is a fellow of the NAI, AAAS, and five other professional societies. He has received five new technology recognition awards from NASA in the fields of advanced laser imaging and nanotechnology. He was recipient of the R&D 100 Award for the design of a 3D imaging system in 2008.

Patrick T. Harker, Ph.D., is president of the University of Delaware and a research leader in service operations management and economics; financial services operations and technology; operations research methodology; and transportation systems. He holds a U.S. patent and U.S. copyright for methods optimizing transportation schedules. He has published or edited nine books and 100+ articles, and is an ISI highly cited researcher in mathematics. He serves on the advisory boards of INFORMS Service Science and Operations Research, where he was previously editor-in-chief. Harker is a Fellow of the NAI, INFORMS and a member of IEEE, the American Economic Association and the International Academy of Management.

Eric W. Kaler, Ph.D., became president of the University of Minnesota in 2011 after serving as provost of Stony Brook University. From 1989 to 2007 he held faculty positions at the University of Delaware and was Dean of the College of Engineering from 2000-07. After receiving a B.S. in chemical engineering from Caltech he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1982 and held faculty positions at the University of Washington from 1982-89. He is an expert in the field of complex fluids and has received numerous professional honors, including election to the National Academy of Engineering and is a Fellow of the NAI, AAAS, and American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Richard B. Marchase, Ph.D., is vice president for Research and Economic Development at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He served as interim president in 2012 and 2013. His research and patents center on controlling cellular calcium entry pathways in physiology and pathologies such as ischemia. He has been instrumental in creating a culture of entrepreneurism at UAB and in integrating the regional business community into the university's innovation and commercialization processes. He also chairs the board of Innovation Depot, Birmingham's award-winning technology incubator. He served as president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and has been honored for his contributions by several research organizations including as a Fellow of the NAI.

Paul R. Sanberg, Ph.D., D.Sc., is senior vice president for research & innovation and Distinguished University Professor at the University of South Florida, and president of the National Academy of Inventors. He trained at York University, the University of British Columbia, the Australian National University and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, among others. He has held academic positions at Ohio University, the University of Cincinnati, and Brown University. He is an inventor on over 100 health-related patents. His work has been instrumental in translating new pharmaceutical and cellular therapeutics to clinical trials and commercialization for Tourette syndrome, stroke, ALS, Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Parkinson's disease and he has significant biotech and pharmaceutical industry experience in these areas. He has been a co-founder and on the boards of a number of startup companies, is a highly cited author with more than 600 publications and has received numerous scientific awards. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, NAI, Royal Societies (Medicine, Chemistry and Public Health) and serves on the evaluation committee of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation for the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Timothy D. Sands, Ph.D., has been named the 16th president of Virginia Tech, effective June 1, 2014. He has held the position of provost and Basil S. Turner professor of Engineering at Purdue University since April 2010. He has served as acting president of Purdue, director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center, a member of the faculty at UC Berkeley and a researcher at Bellcore. His research in nanomaterials and devices has advanced the fields of solid-state lighting, thermoelectric energy conversion and semiconductor processing. He holds 16 U.S. patents, some of which have contributed to manufacturing processes for GaN LEDs. He has published more than 250 refereed papers. He is a Fellow of the NAI, IEEE and the Materials Research Society.

Sudeep Sarkar, Ph.D., is associate vice president for research and innovation and professor of computer science and engineering at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering, on a University Presidential Fellowship, from The Ohio State University. He is a Fellow of the International Association for Pattern Recognition, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and AAAS, an IEEE-CS Distinguished Visitor Program Speaker, and recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award. He is an Editor-in-Chief for Pattern Recognition Letters and a charter member of the NAI.



Universities should factor faculty patent and commercialization activities into tenure, career advancement says NAI paper

New demands on universities go beyond research and teaching to basic research and technology transfer

TAMPA, Fla. (April 28, 2014) – Should universities change their faculty tenure and promotion calculus based on research and publication to one that recognizes and includes faculty research activities that translate into patents, licensing and commercialization of products? 

“Yes,” say a group of university officials from across the nation whose paper “Changing the academic culture: Valuing patents and commercialization toward tenure and career advancement” is published in the current issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1404094111).

“Over the past several decades, university missions have expanded from teaching and research to include economic development and translating university-based research into real products that benefit society,” says paper lead author Paul R. Sanberg, Distinguished University Professor and senior vice president for research and innovation at the University of South Florida (USF), and president of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

The authors—from USF, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Delaware, the University of Minnesota, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Purdue University, and the University of Missouri St. Louis—say that, while research activities that translate to product commercialization should not replace traditional scholarly pursuits such as teaching, mentoring students and publishing research, patent and commercialization activities should be considered equally in decisions related to faculty tenure and academic advancement.

“There is a fundamental disconnect between technology transfer activities and incentives for faculty members in terms of merit raises, tenure and career advancement,” says co-author Richard B. Marchase, vice president for Research and Economic Development at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. “Beyond the monetary benefit of licensing, which is small in most cases, there is presently little to no benefit to a faculty member’s merit raises, tenure and career advancement.”

For the authors, the “disconnect” can be lessened or eliminated by changing the university “rewards culture” to include placing value on a faculty member’s patents and commercialization activities. If research, patents, licensing and commercialization are valuable to the institution, they should also be of value to the faculty member’s academic career, they argue. "Of course, we understand these patent-related activities are available in all fields, and they should add to but not replace traditional measures of scholarly productivity," said Eric Kaler, president of the University of Minnesota.

To highlight the growing importance of university-based research to social impact, the authors cite a 2012 report from the National Research Council of the National Academies that suggests that since business and industry have “largely dismantled large corporate research laboratories that drove American industrial leadership,” research universities must “fill the gap.” A recent report from the American Association of University Professors similarly recommends that collaborations between industry and the academy “present tremendous opportunities for advancing knowledge and applying it to real-world problems.”

To understand and place proper value on academic research and its potential beneficial outcomes for society and the university, the authors point to the success and impact of university-based “technology transfer,” the process of transferring university-based scientific findings to another organization, such as a start-up company, for further development and commercialization.

Accordingly, the authors note that for universities, the patent, licensing and commercialization benefits of technology transfer include, along with the potential for license income and royalties and access to unrestricted funds for further institutional investment, increased opportunities for research funding, increased prestige for the institution, economic development, and public benefit, as well as helping the institution sustain high levels of scholarship and support student success.

“The greatness of a university should not be measured by its research grants and contracts alone,” write the authors. “Greatness is also measured by how the university impacts and changes for the better the world and society-at-large.”

Of relevance to this argument is the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, which has offered universities and their academic researchers the opportunity to own their patents on technologies developed using federal funding. Prior to Bayh-Dole, the federal government owned patents on products developed using federal research dollars, yet failed to capitalize on them.

While Bayh-Dole created the potential for universities to profit from university-based discoveries, faculty members who patent, license and help commercialize products that come from their research efforts should reap a career benefit, say the authors.

“If promotion and tenure committees are measuring impact, they should value those accomplishments that best demonstrate impact,” suggests co-author Patrick T. Harker, president of the University of Delaware. “That valuation will take us beyond the tabulation of commercialization and entrepreneurial activities to a point where licensed patents that produce royalties for the university will be highly valued.”

Future efforts to encourage a culture change that recognizes the value of faculty patents, licensing and commercialization activities can be enhanced by developing advocates for commercialization. The work of the National Academy of Inventors, a non-profit organization founded to recognize, encourage, and enhance the visibility of academic technology and invention, provides an example of such advocacy. 

“The NAI and its university members and Fellows throughout the United States play an important role by encouraging innovation and bringing attention to the devalued role patents currently play in tenure and career advancement,” says Sanberg. The paper was based, in part, on a panel at the 2013 Annual Conference of the NAI entitled “Would Thomas Edison Receive Tenure?”

The authors suggest that universities would do well to encourage and support bright young faculty and trainees to build careers that combine research and scholarship—the traditional academic paths to tenure and academic advancement—with translating that research to the market through patents, licenses, and the commercialization of their ideas and products to benefit society.

“Universities that are active in finding resources to bring those ideas to reality are leading the way,” said co-author Morteza Gharib, vice provost for research at the California Institute of Technology.  “Recognizing the importance of patents and commercialization for tenure and promotion sends a powerful message to our faculty inventors, the academy, and the communities we serve.”

Additional co-authors include Timothy D. Sands, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost of Purdue University, Nasser Arshadi, vice provost for research at the University of Missouri–St. Louis and Sudeep Sarkar, associate vice president for research and innovation at the University of South Florida.

Media release by Florida Science Communications, Inc. www.sciencescribe.net



NAI Fellows inducted by USPTO's Andrew Faile

NAI conference at the USPTO featured keynote address by Stanford's Stephen Quake

By: Judy Lowry
NAI News

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Mar. 13, 2014) – U.S. Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations Andrew Faile inducted the 2013 Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors at the NAI's 3rd annual conference, held for the first time at the headquarters of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Mar. 6-7, 2014.

"Invention and entrepreneurship are the backbone of America's innovation economy," said Stephen Hsu, vice president for research and graduate studies at Michigan State University and a 2013 NAI Fellow. "I'm very enthusiastic about an entity such as the NAI that recognizes and furthers this important activity."

Approximately 250 inventors and academic leaders attended the conference, which featured presentations and panels by more than 35 distinguished scientists and innovators and included a keynote address by Stephen Quake of Stanford University, winner of the Lemelson-MIT Prize, member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Engineering (NAE), Institute of Medicine (IOM), and newly inducted Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

"It is an honor and a privilege to be recognized this way," said Taylor Eighmy, vice chancellor for research and engagement at the University of Tennessee. "The academy has many talented inventors and innovators committed to translating discovery into societal benefit. We are seeing this culture flourish here at the University of Tennessee."

Faile and Paul R. Sanberg, president of the NAI, presented the 2013 class of Fellows with trophies, certificates and rosette pins honoring their accomplishments as inventors at a ceremony held Mar. 7, 2014, in the USPTO Auditorium. More than 80 of the 143 top scientists and innovation leaders elected as 2013 Fellows were in attendance. The names and institutions of all NAI Fellows are on permanent display at the USPTO.

In his keynote address to the Fellows, Faile noted that "the future of innovation in America is indeed bright."

“The NAI is an organization the United States Patent and Trademark Office counts as a close friend,” said Faile. “Since the inception of the NAI, our two organizations have maintained a close relationship. We can depend on the NAI as a strong supporter of intellectual property rights and of the mission of the USPTO to promote and protect innovation.”

“Organizations like the NAI are extremely important to the way the USPTO does business,” said Faile.  “The USPTO would like the NAI to continue to serve as a key university liaison on academic innovation.”

With the induction of the 2013 class, there are now 244 NAI Fellows worldwide, representing 121 universities and non-profit research institutes.  Included in the 2013 class are 26 presidents and senior leadership of research universities and non-profit research institutes, 69 members of the National Academies (NAS, NAE, IOM), five inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation, two recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Science, nine Nobel Laureates, five Lemelson-MIT prize recipients, and 23 AAAS Fellows, among other awards and distinctions.

"I am deeply honored to receive this distinction with incredibly inventive colleagues from here at Harvard University and across the country," said David Edwards, professor at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Nominations for 2014 Fellows will open Jul. 1, 2014, and can be submitted online through Nov. 1, 2014, at Academyofinventors.org/nomination-info.asp. The 2014 Fellows will be inducted by U.S. Commissioner for Patents Margaret A. Focarino at the 2015 NAI Annual Conference, which will be held at the California Institute of Technology, Mar. 19-20, 2015.  Caltech is a Charter Member Institution of the NAI.

"I was really pleased to hear that I had been elected fellow of the National Academy of Inventors," said Hameed Naseem, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Arkansas and a 2013 Fellow. "This recognition is a great honor for me, as all my academic life I have emphasized awakening the 'inventor spirit' in my graduate students.”

"The 2013 NAI Fellows and their creative accomplishments showcase the continued excellence of academic innovation and invention," said Sanberg. “Their work has brought great benefit to the world and we are proud to honor them as Fellows.”

The printed Conference and Fellows Programs are available at Academyofinventors.org/conference/program.asp.  A full listing of the Fellows is here: Academyofinventors.org/search-fellows.asp. Invited papers from the conference will be published in the NAI journal Technology and Innovation.

About the National Academy of Inventors

The National Academy of Inventors is a 501(c)(3) non-profit member organization comprised of U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutions, with over 3,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 200 institutions, and growing rapidly. It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society. The NAI offices are located in the USF Research Park in Tampa. The NAI edits the multidisciplinary journal, Technology and Innovation – Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors, published by Cognizant Communication Corporation (NY). Academyofinventors.org



Top 100 Universities for Patenting Announced

The NAI and IPO released the list of the Top 100 universities worldwide granted U.S. patents

By: Lauren Golin
NAI News

TAMPA, Fla. (December 16, 2013) – The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) today announced the Top 100 Worldwide Universities granted U.S. patents in 2012. The list, based on data obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, recognizes the important role patents play in university research.

The NAI and IPO compiled the list by calculating the number of utility patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office during 2012 which list a university as the first assignee on the printed patent.

The IPO also publishes the annual Top 300 Patent Owners list of organizations that received the most U.S. utility patents during the year. It has been published by the IPO for 30 consecutive years.

“We are pleased to release this list of the top innovation universities in the world in conjunction with the IPO,” said Paul R. Sanberg, president of the NAI. “Innovation based on university technology has proven to be a key factor in worldwide industrial and economic development. In the 21st century, the support, encouragement and development of technology and innovation are fundamental to the success of a university.”

Since the enactment in 1980 of the U.S. legislation known as the Bayh-Dole Act, which permits a university to elect to pursue ownership of an invention, the number of patents held by universities in the United States has increased. This, Sanberg says, has led to more licensing income and royalties for inventors, better funding opportunities as a result of wider research collaborations, and an increasingly entrepreneurial academic culture.

"Patents encourage innovation and can promote industrial research funding and commercialization by providing corporations the incentive to invest in university research projects,” said IPO Executive Director Herbert C. Wamsley. “The commercialization of these innovations transfers cutting-edge research to the commercial marketplace, generating revenue and diversifying the economy.”

“University inventors are the discoverers and creators of new solutions to existing problems, and, as such, are key contributors to the advancement of technology,” said Sanberg. “Protection of this intellectual property, through the patenting process, underpins the creation of new industries and employment.”

About the National Academy of Inventors

The National Academy of Inventors® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit member organization comprised of U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutions, with over 3,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 200 institutions, and growing rapidly. It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society. The NAI headquarters are located in the University of South Florida Research Park in Tampa. Fla. The NAI edits the multidisciplinary journal, Technology and Innovation – Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors, published by Cognizant Communication Corporation (NY). www.academyofinventors.org

About the IPO

Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), established in 1972, is a trade association for owners of patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. IPO is the only association in the U.S. that serves all intellectual property owners in all industries and all fields of technology. IPO advocates for effective and affordable IP ownership rights and provides a wide array of services to members, including: supporting member interests relating to legislative and international issues; analyzing current IP issues; information and educational services; and disseminating information to the general public on the importance of intellectual property rights. www.ipo.org

The information provided in this list is based on data obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Patents reported are utility patents granted during the 2012 calendar year. When a patent is assigned to one or more entities, credit is given to the first named entity. For inquiries or if you have a research foundation that should be combined with your university assignment in the future, contact: aturley@academyofinventors.org

Media Contact: April Turley, National Academy of Inventors, aturley@academyofinventors.org, 813-974-7921



NAI Announces 2013 Elected Fellows

Academic inventors and innovators elected to high honor

By: Judy Lowry
NAI Communications

TAMPA, Fla. (Dec. 10, 2013) — The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has named 143 innovators to NAI Fellow status, representing 94 prestigious research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutions.

Collectively, the new Fellows hold more than 5,600 U.S. patents.

Included in the 2013 class are 26 presidents and senior leadership of research universities and non-profit research institutes, 69 members of the National Academies (NAS, NAE, IOM), five inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation, two recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Science, nine Nobel Laureates, five Lemelson-MIT prize recipients, 23 AAAS Fellows, and 23 IEEE Fellows, among other awards and distinctions. 

Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.

The NAI Fellows will be inducted by the Deputy U.S. Commissioner for Patents, Andrew Faile, from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), during the 3rd Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors, on Mar. 7, 2014, in Alexandria, Va., at the USPTO headquarters. Fellows will be presented with a special trophy and a rosette pin.  A plaque listing the name and institution of each NAI Fellow will be on permanent display at the USPTO.

"The USPTO and the NAI work closely together to promote innovation and support inventors," said Margaret A. (Peggy) Focarino, U.S. Commissioner for Patents.  “The NAI Fellows program is a great opportunity to honor our nation’s outstanding inventors.”

The NAI Charter Fellows will be recognized with a full page announcement in The Chronicle of Higher Education on Jan. 17, 2014, and in upcoming issues of Inventors Digest and Technology and Innovation – Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors.

The academic inventors and innovators elected to the rank of NAI Fellow are named inventors on U.S. patents and were nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.

“Selection as an NAI Fellow is a high honor,” said Anne Chasser, former U.S. Commissioner for Trademarks at the USPTO and chair of the NAI Fellows Selection Committee.  “The Fellows have made outstanding contributions to innovation and discovery, in ways that have had a significant impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.”

The 2013 NAI Fellows Selection Committee was comprised of 13 members including NAI Charter Fellows, recipients of U.S. National Medals, National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, members of the National Academies and senior officials from the USPTO, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of University Technology Managers, and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

"The 2013 NAI Fellows and their creative accomplishments showcase the continued excellence of academic innovation and invention," said NAI President Dr. Paul R. Sanberg.  “Their work has brought great benefit to the world and we are proud to honor them as Fellows.”

The complete list of NAI Fellows can be found here: http://academyofinventors.com/search-fellows.asp.



NAI and NCET2 sign MOU

Innovation-focused organizations will collaborate to promote invention and entrepreneurship

By: Judy Lowry
NAI Communications

TAMPA, Fla.–The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer (NCET2) have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.

The agreement provides a formal basis for the two organizations to collaborate on educational activities and outreach on the value and importance of innovation and patents, and to recognize and support inventors affiliated with academic, federal, and nonprofit research institutions. The MOU provides for the organizations to be Association Partners and actively participate in each one's annual meetings.

"We are delighted to join with NCET2 as we work together to raise the stature of inventors and invention in the United States," said Paul R. Sanberg, president of the National Academy of Inventors, and senior vice president for research and innovation at the University of South Florida.

Sanberg will deliver a keynote address at NCET2's 7th annual University Startups Showcase and Conference, to be held Mar. 20-22, 2013, at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The NAI is an Association Sponsor of the meeting.

"The University Startups Conference is a unique best practices conference series dedicated to creating and funding globally-competitive, venture-backable university startups," said Tony Stanco, executive director of NCET2. "We bring together universities creating startups with VCs, angel investors, SBIR program managers and Global 1000 companies funding them."

This year's conference, entitled "Corporate Venture Capital and University Startups: An Open Innovation Paradigm," focuses on "Getting Your University Startup Funded."

The conference will feature two innovations this year:

On Mar. 21, the Corporate Reverse Showcase will give participants the opportunity to hear from major Global 1000 companies as they talk about technologies and strategic alliances they seek from university startup creation officials and university startup entrepreneurs. It is intended to provide an efficient and productive model for Global 1000 companies to find exactly what they are looking for from the $35 billion in annual federally funded research and over 600 university startups created at universities each year.
On Mar. 22, the University Startups & SBIR Company Showcase will highlight university startups and SBIR companies designated as among the "very best" by NCET2. The showcase has been specifically created to catalyze transactions with the Global 1000, VCs, angel investors and SBIR program managers at the conference. Annually, universities receive $35 billion from the federal government to conduct cutting-edge research from which universities create approximately 600 university startups each year.

"One of the goals of the conference is to create long-term relationships between the universities and either users of university inventions or funders of university startups," said Stanco. "The audience, which includes VCs, angel investors, corporate scouts, and high-level university officials with responsibility for commercialization and startup creation, is comprised of knowledgeable practitioners who are generally qualified to be on the stage themselves (and many of them have been before)."

For more information on the conference, go to http://ncet2.org or email support@ncet2.org.

About the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer

NCET2 is an organization of entrepreneurial universities creating and funding university startups. NCET2 promotes best practices in the creation and funding of university startups by supporting entrepreneurship and providing entrepreneurial education. NCET2 connects investors, economic development organizations, public and private funds and tech transfer professionals in building communities of innovation at universities. NCET2 provides an annual conference for innovation stakeholders to share experiences and create a constructive dialog on how to best work together.



Leading Innovation

Top inventors from around the world gather for the National Academy of Inventors Conference at the University of South Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (Mar. 5, 2013)— Nearly 200 renowned inventors and innovators from more than 60 universities, research institutes and governmental agencies worldwide gathered recently for the second annual meeting of the National Academy of Inventors, held at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa. 

A highlight of the event was the induction by Margaret Focarino, U.S. Commissioner for Patents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), of the NAI Charter Fellows—101 top scientists and innovation leaders from 56 research universities and non-profit research institutes, who collectively hold over 3,200 patents.  Almost half of the Fellows were in attendance to be inducted and receive a trophy, rosette pin and certificate. 

Focarino held up a plaque engraved with the names and institutions of the fellows and described how the plaque will hang at the USPTO and each subsequent year a plaque listing the name and institution of each NAI Fellow will be on display at the USPTO federal building in Alexandria, Virginia.

The NAI Charter Fellows and their institutions were also recognized in the Congressional Record of the U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 28, 2013, in an Extension of Remarks by Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis.

Elizabeth Dougherty, USPTO director of Inventor Education, Outreach & Recognition, hailed the NAI as an organization that can “help to shape new policies, ones that offer new opportunities for students but also respect the longstanding and important research and development endeavors that universities support and rightfully retain control over.”

“Universities that encourage intellectual property by opening the doors immediately to inventorship will be the ones that attract the greatest talent,” she said.

The meeting featured presentations by experts in science, technology, invention and commercialization, who shared research and insights on topics ranging from new disruptive technologies such as wireless technology used in medical applications and the process of moving technology from the lab to the market, to the Affordable Care Act and its potential impact on drug development and “tech transfer from Saturn to your cell phone.” 

Robert Langer, the acclaimed MIT chemical engineer who has over 800 patents and is one of only three Americans to have won both the United States National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, challenged an audience that included students and seasoned inventors to “find a way that works” in bringing their inventions to market, regardless of skeptics.

In a keynote address that preceded the NAI Fellows induction, Focarino described how the USPTO has undergone “a renaissance in the past few years” with the passage and implementation of the America Invents Act (AIA), which aligns the U.S. patent system with the rest of the world. 

The goal of the AIA, said Focarino, is for “any inventor, particularly those here in the U.S., to be able to protect his or her invention throughout the world.”  She discussed how the USPTO is working to prevent the theft of intellectual property and subsequent reverse engineering of American technology that is then patented and sold in other parts of the world.

“Would Thomas Edison Receive Tenure?”

A lively forum on changing the academic culture of tenure and promotion featured five top university leaders debating the evolution taking place in the academic world around recognizing the increasing importance of patenting and commercializing university research.

The panel included Mory Gharib, vice provost for Research at California Institute of Technology, Eric Kaler, president of the University of Minnesota, Richard Marchase, vice president for Research and former interim president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Timothy Sands, provost of Purdue University. 

The fifth member of the panel, Patrick Harker, president of the University of Delaware, said that while tenure “is about letting faculty speak the truth,” accountability is crucial. “Faculty have to do important stuff,” he said. In making the decision to award tenure, universities should focus on impact, and ask: “Are you working on important things, and do they make a difference?”

 “The rapid growth of the NAI is a direct reflection of how critical academic invention has become,” said NAI president Paul Sanberg, who is also USF’s senior vice president for Research & Innovation.  “Commercializing patents, spinning off new companies, building products, and creating high paying jobs have to become as much a part of a university’s mission as educating a high tech workforce for its state and the nation.”

“Investments in research pay off,” said USF President Judy Genshaft. “Inventors are building a resilient economy for the next century.”



Universities should factor faculty patent and commercialization activities into tenure, career advancement says NAI paper

New demands on universities go beyond research and teaching to basic research and technology transfer

TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 28, 2013)— Paul R. Sanberg, Ph.D., D.Sc., has been appointed by the U.S. acting secretary of commerce Rebecca M. Blank to the nomination evaluation committee for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Sanberg is founder and president of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), and senior vice president for research and innovation at the University of South Florida.

The National Medal of Technology and Innovation is the highest honor awarded by the United States for technological achievement and is presented annually by the president. In describing the 2012 medal recipients, President Obama said: "They represent the ingenuity and imagination that has long made this Nation great—and they remind us of the enormous impact a few good ideas can have when these creative qualities are unleashed in an entrepreneurial environment."

The medal's small independent evaluation committee, comprised of experts in science, technology, business and patent law, reviews nominations and recommends candidates to the secretary of commerce, who in turn makes recommendations to the president.

Sanberg is also Distinguished University Professor and executive director of the Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair at USF. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has authored approximately 600 scientific publications, and is an inventor on 100 health-related U.S. and foreign patents. In addition to academics, Sanberg has significant biotech and pharmaceutical industry experience.

About the National Academy of Inventors
The National Academy of Inventors® is a 501c3 non-profit organization comprised of more than 45 U.S. and international universities and non-profit research institutes, with over 2,000 individual academic inventor members, and growing rapidly. It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with a patent issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society. The NAI publishes a newsletter and edits the multidisciplinary journal, Technology and Innovation – Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors, published by Cognizant Communication Corporation (NY). www.academyofinventors.org


National Academy of Inventors announces 2012 NAI Charter Fellows

Academic inventors and innovators elected to high honor

TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 4, 2013)—The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has named 101 innovators to NAI Charter Fellow status, representing 56 prestigious research universities and non-profit research institutes.

Collectively, the new Fellows hold more than 3,200 U.S. patents.

Included in the Charter class are eight Nobel Laureates, two Fellows of the Royal Society, 14 presidents of research universities and non-profit research institutes, 53 members of the National Academies (National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine), 11 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, five recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, four recipients of the National Medal of Science, and 31 AAAS Fellows, among other major awards and distinctions.

Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.

The NAI Charter Fellows will be inducted as Fellows by the U.S. Commissioner for Patents, Margaret A. Focarino, from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), during the 2nd Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors, on Feb. 22, 2013, in Tampa, Fla., at the Embassy Suites Hotel in the University of South Florida Research Park. Fellows will be presented with a special trophy and a rosette pin.

"The USPTO and the NAI work closely together to promote innovation and support inventors, and I am delighted to be inducting this charter class of outstanding academic innovators," said Focarino.

In his keynote address at the NAI's inaugural conference last February, David Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, said: "The NAI is a breakthrough for our country. It couldn't be more timely to have an organization like this to be championing innovation."

The NAI Charter Fellows will be recognized with a full page announcement in The Chronicle of Higher Education on Jan. 18, 2013, in the Jan. 2013 issue of Inventors Digest, and in a future issue of Technology and Innovation – Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors.

The academic inventors and innovators elected to the rank of NAI Charter Fellow are named inventors on U.S. patents and were nominated for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.

The NAI Fellows Selection Committee was comprised of recipients of National Medals, a National Inventors Hall of Fame inductee, 14 members from the National Academies, senior officials from the USPTO, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), and the United Inventors Association, and leaders from several research universities.

"The scope of new thinking and new products represented by the NAI Charter Fellows is a profound example of the power of academic innovation and invention," said Todd Sherer, president of AUTM and associate vice president for research administration at Emory University, an NAI member institution.

The 2012 NAI Charter Fellows are listed here: http://www.academyofinventors.org/charter-fellows.asp.