The University of California was awarded the most U.S. patents of any university last year, according to an annual report by the Intellectual Property Owners Association.
In 2009, the 10-campus UC system received 251 patents for discoveries made by its researchers. The patents stem from UC ideas and inventions for products ranging from health care to clean energy. UC now holds 3,617 active U.S. patents.
This was the 17th consecutive year that UC topped all U.S. universities in the IPO's annual report, which is based on data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
"UC's high number of patents is another measure of UC's research impact," said Steven Beckwith, UC vice president for research and graduate studies. "Winning patents is not our primary goal, and we don't receive a whole lot of income from them. But they are one way to transfer our discoveries into products or services that benefit society."
In the 2009 fiscal year alone, UC research also produced 1,482 new inventions and spawned 47 startup companies. UC inventions have led to the formation of 461 startup companies since 1976, and these companies serve as an important engine for economic growth in California.
In IPO's 2009 report of patents granted, UC ranked 83rd overall, behind only the top U.S. companies. IBM ranked first with 4,887 patents last year.
Among universities, UC was followed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (ranked 153rd, with 134 patents), the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which manages patents for the University of Wisconsin at Madison (173rd, with 115 patents), Stanford University (178th, with 110 patents), the University of Texas (191st, with 98 patents), the California Institute of Technology (198th, with 93 patents), and the University of Illinois (266th, with 65 patents).
Intellectual Property Owners Association, established in 1972, is a trade association for owners of patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. IPO is the only association in the United States that serves all intellectual property owners in all industries and all fields of technology.