Postings from the Dartmouth College Office of Sponsored Projects. Topics include new funding opportunities as well as other announcements and news items regarding sponsored projects at Dartmouth College.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Universities struggle to make patents pay
Surfeit of unlicensed intellectual property pushes research institutions into unseemly partnerships.
A surface imaged by a patented method that was licensed to Intellectual Ventures by Caltech.
NATHAN LITKE, ADI LEVIN, PETER SCHRÖDER/COMPUTER AIDED GEOMETRIC DESIGN/ELSEVIER
United States patent number 7,023,435 almost didn’t happen. The application, which covered a way of imaging a surface, was rejected four times by the US Patent and Trademark Office. But the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, which filed the patent, fought back — and prevailed in 2005.
Caltech’s faith in the hard-won patent was not matched by industry: three years later, no one had licensed the rights to the invention. So in 2008, Caltech exclusively licensed it, along with 50 other patents, to a subsidiary of Intellectual Ventures, a company that has stockpiled 40,000 patents from which it collects US$3 billion in licensing income. The firm sometimes uses its patents to sue other companies for infringement, yet it rarely develops the inventions described by its intellectual property.