News: Press Releases

UMass student and professor working in the lab
August 18, 2015

UMass awarded a record 65 patents in 2015, licensing income also rising

  • The UMass System
President Meehan calls UMass a national leader in innovation and essential to state’s economic future

BOSTON – Aug. 18, 2015: The University of Massachusetts was awarded a record 65 U.S. patents in Fiscal Year 2015 – the most recent achievement in a research and innovation surge that has vaulted the five-campus UMass system into the top ranks of research universities nationwide.

“Cutting-edge research by our faculty puts us in the upper echelon of universities nationally and makes UMass a major leader in innovation,” said President Marty Meehan. “The quest to create and transmit knowledge is at the core of our mission as a research university -- and research and innovation also plays a critical role for our state and will determine our fortunes as we compete in the global economy.”

“The level of activity we are seeing across the UMass system creates an atmosphere of invention and entrepreneurism that excites and inspires our students,” President Meehan added.


Key Facts at a Glance:

  • UMass system was awarded a record 65 U.S. patents in FY 2015, which ended June 30
  • UMass ranked 40th nationally and 53rd worldwide among universities awarded U.S. patents in calendar year 2014
  • UMass earned $34 million in licensing income from commercialization of its patented faculty inventions in FY15, a $3 million increase from FY14 and the ninth consecutive year that licensing income topped $30 million
  • FY14 licensing income of $31 million placed UMass 14th in the nation among all universities
  • The UMass system ranks in the Top 40 nationally in research expenditures and is one of three universities in Massachusetts with research portfolios in excess of $600 million, along with MIT and Harvard
  • UMass has earned more than $530 million from technology transfer over the past 20 years


“The University of Massachusetts is a leading innovative institution at the forefront of research and technology transfer,” said Paul R. Sanberg, president of the National Academy of Inventors. “A decade of success with significant commercialization activities has led to UMass being ranked among the Top 40 universities worldwide for U.S. patents for the past three years.”

UMass was ranked 40th nationally and 53rd worldwide among universities awarded U.S. patents for the calendar year 2014, according to a National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association report released in June.  These rankings are based on data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. UMass was granted 40 new patents in 2014.


National leader in licensing income

The UMass Office of Technology Commercialization and Ventures (OTCV), which announced the fiscal-year data last week, noted that UMass has earned more than $530 million in licensing income and stock sales since the University created its system-wide technology transfer program 20 years ago. UMass Medical and Mass Biologics continue to be the major contributor to the University’s licensing income stream.

UMass consistently places in the Top 15 of universities nationally for highest income derived from academic research in the annual survey conducted by the Association of University Technology Managers.

In AUTM’s most recent survey, released last fall, UMass ranked 14th in licensing income, 6th among all public universities and 2nd in Massachusetts, behind MIT.


Patents granted, startups launched

The patents granted in Fiscal Year 2015 come from research in a diverse field of academic disciplines ranging from the life sciences to agriculture to plastics engineering, and include gene therapy from UMass Medical; nanotechnology and clean air technologies from UMass Lowell and UMass Amherst; and textile technology from UMass Dartmouth. Two of the new startup companies were launched from UMass Amherst and one from UMass Lowell, according to Abigail A. Barrow, interim executive director of the OTCV.

Two of the startup companies rely on breakthrough discoveries in drug delivery that enhance disease targeting and reduce side effects, and the third company has developed a new medical device.


Record number of new inventions on the horizon

The University system also executed 29 new licenses in 2015.  Once a license is executed, a company can further develop the technology and either integrate it into an existing product line or develop a new product.  Turning a new license into a revenue stream for the University may take several years – or longer - if the product is a new drug, Barrow explained.

In addition to the patents granted, the University also recorded 201 new faculty invention disclosures - the highest number ever - and 138 new patent applications.  Although not all disclosures turn into patent applications, and not all new utility patents become products, this level of activity, along with the 29 newly executed license agreements, “are all signs of a robust invention stream ahead,” Barrow said.   


Contact: Jan Brogan: 617-287-4027