OHSU was recently included in the National Academy of Inventors’ list of the Top 100 U.S. universities granted U.S. utility patents.
OHSU earned a spot on the list after being granted 24 utility patents from the US Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, in 2022. These OHSU patents cover a variety of health care solutions, including new medical devices, diagnostic imaging techniques, and therapeutic compounds.
From bench to patent: What’s the process?
The process of getting a new technology patented is supported at OHSU by the Technology Transfer department. OHSU Technology Transfer is part of the larger collective network supporting innovation and entrepreneurship at OHSU and across the region, called OHSU Innovates.
New inventions and technologies discovered at OHSU are disclosed to Technology Transfer, which then works with the inventors and patent attorneys to assess the new invention and, when appropriate, file a patent application. Utility patent applications are then examined by the USPTO and may be granted if the invention is deemed to be novel and nonobvious with demonstrated utility.
Why file a patent?
The US patent process gives the patent holder exclusive intellectual property rights to their invention for a period of 20 years from the date the applications was filed. In exchange for exclusivity over the invention, the information is made public in the form of the patent application. Similar to research publications, patent applications share new knowledge and data that facilitates further research and discovery by teaching the public how to make and use the invention. After the patent expires, the intellectual property then becomes available for public use.
Patents are an important component of the academic technology transfer lifecycle. Patent rights from the university can be licensed to commercial entities, such as startup companies or commercial partners, to further develop and validate the technology. The ultimate goal is to ensure that academic innovations have the greatest possible chance of making it to market to serve the public.
OHSU Technology Transfer also assists OHSU inventors with non-patentable types of intellectual property, including copyrights, know-how, trademarks, and biological materials.
A commitment to advancing OHSU innovations
Each of the 24 granted patents in 2022 represents years of effort. This includes OHSU faculty, post-docs, students and researchers performing leading-edge research and the OHSU Technology Transfer team advising them on intellectual property development and strategy as well as drafting, filing, and prosecuting patent applications. In many cases, the patent process requires close coordination between inventors and OHSU Technology Transfer to address patentability issues raised from the USPTO to validate the novelty and usefulness of the invention.
“We are proud to be recognized in the NAI’s list as it highlights the collective efforts of so many here at OHSU to advance innovative health care solutions” said Travis Cook, M.S., M.B.A., CLP, senior director of Technology Transfer. “We are excited to continue building our community of innovators here at OHSU and are committed to working closely with them to make sure their scientific discoveries achieve the greatest possible impact.”