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USF is a patent machine - now 10th in the country among universities

— The University of South Florida continues to climb the list of the nation’s most prolific patent-holders, now sitting at number 10 among U.S. universities for patents granted last year.

USF was granted 104 patents in 2014, according to a report from the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association. The Tampa school was tops in the state, with the University of Florida Research Foundation ranking 15th with 87 patents, the University of Central Florida 23rd with 66, and Florida State University 52nd with 30.

“It reflects our approach to research and entrepreneurship at this university and how we really encourage helping economic development in the region,” said Paul Sanberg, USF’s senior vice president for research, innovation and economic development. “It’s just one metric toward a number of metrics we’re working on to increase our presence and our help with job creation, new technologies, things like that.”

USF has ranked among the top 15 universities for the past five years in generating new inventions. It ranked 12th last year.

The list is based on data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office based on the number of patents granted that list a university as the first assignee on the printed patent.

USF has a Technology Transfer Office for Patents and Licensing, which helps faculty and students with fundraising, developing a business plan, getting in front of venture capital groups, navigating the patenting process and other assistance.

The school is host of the National Academy of Inventors and the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.

“Patents are one of the indicators of activity in the innovation space,” said Valerie McDevitt, associate vice president for technology transfer and business partnerships with the tech transfer office. “It is very much the culture here. The faculty are very engaged in working with our office and working with industry partners. They’re doing basic research, but they’re also doing research they hope will make it on the market.”

Last year, USF students and faculty landed patents in everything from a promising treatment against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA, to the AbleNook, a rapidly deployable portable structure made of interlocking components that can be easily shipped and assembled in disaster areas.

Among public universities, USF ranked 5th nationally. The intellectual property association will soon be releasing its annual list of the top 300 organizations in the world that received the most utility patents during 2014, and USF will be one of only 13 universities on the list.

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