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AUTM: University start-up, licensing activity remained strong during recession

By David Schwartz
Published: October 6th, 2010

Despite a bruising recession that officially peaked last June, 596 university start-ups were formed in 2009, according to survey data published by AUTM. The findings indicate that the Bayh-Dole Act is working, according to Ashley J. Stevens, DPhil (Oxon), special assistant to the vice president of research at Boston University and AUTM’s 2010 president. “The data in this survey reveal that universities were able to maintain their level of start-up company creation,” Stevens says. “The majority of these start-ups are located in the licensing institution’s home state, further proof that the Bayh-Dole Act continues to have a positive impact on local economies.”

Although 2009 income from licenses declined 32.5% from the previous year, AUTM does not attribute this finding directly to the economy. In the previous two annual licensing surveys, institutions had negotiated extraordinary partial royalty buyouts that significantly boosted overall royalties — an event that did not occur in 2009. All told, the number of licenses executed increased by 5.6%, while the number of options decreased by 3.4%. The number of start-ups launched in 2009 was essentially unchanged.

Other data — released prior to the December 2010 publication of the annual AUTM Licensing Activity Survey — reveal that:

  • 658 commercial products were introduced in 2009;
  • 5,328 total license and options were executed;
  • 596 companies were formed;
  • 3,423 university start-ups continued to operate at the end of FY 2009;
  • Disclosures increased by 1%, to 20,309 disclosures, led by medical (3,272 disclosures), biomedical engineering (1,899), biological/life science (1,388), and computer science (1,284);
  • Research expenditures increased by 4.2%, to $53.5 billion in total sponsored research, including $33.3 billion in federally sponsored research (up 1.9%), and $4.0 billion in industry-sponsored research (up 8.2%);
  • Income from licenses was $2.3 billion, including $1.6 billion in running royalties, $24.4 million in cashed-in equity, and $362 million in other income.
  • 18,214 U.S. patent applications were filed, and 3,417 U.S. patents were issued.

Sources: Business News Daily and Newswise

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No Comments so far ↓

  • patent litigation

    Though there has been some (perhaps fair) griping by some that Bayh-Dole has at some times inappropriately influenced the research process in favor of commercialization, nonetheless it’s hard to argue with the numbers. Patent law demonstrably benefits the economy, and its improved partnership with academia has enhanced this state of affairs.

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