Investment in the future: recent patent trends from some of America’s top universities

Since passage of the Bayh-Dole Act in 1980, universities now retain ownership of federally funded intellectual property developed by their staff and faculty and have very strong incentives to protect their inventions with patent filings.

Our study of recent patent trends from the top 10 US universities ranked by total 2015 R&D spend shows that nearly half of all the unique inventions published during 2012-2016 originated from Californian inventors.

The study also shows a continual year-over-year increase in the publication of unique inventions with acceleration from 2013 onwards. This is possibly due to the passage of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act in 2011 which makes it much more important to file a patent application as soon as possible for any invention that may hold future value.

The full range of technology areas is also analyzed and reflects the underlying public funding from health and defense sources of US institutional R&D.

Further analysis and insight is provided in the full report, available for download here.