Sunday, June 8, 2003

Patents a moneymaker for UC

$5.4 million in invention royalties

By Andrea Uhde
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Dr. Andrew Steckl has been granted three patents for the University of Cincinnati researching luminescent materials for flat panel displays.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
| ZOOM |
The University of Cincinnati made more money off its patents in 2001 than any other university in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, according to rankings by the Association of University Technology Managers.

UC had about $5.4 million in royalties - a record for the school - that advanced it five spots from the 2000 survey to rank 28 out of 142 research universities surveyed.

The improvement is a sign of how hard researchers are working, said Richard Kordal, director of intellectual property.

"I think it kind of demonstrates the productivity of our researchers," Kordal said.

From Cardiolite, a cardiac stress test licensed to DuPont, to HeaterMeals, meals that heat themselves when water is added, UC now has 69 invention disclosures.

Andrew Steckl, a Gieringer professor of solid state microelectronics in UC's electrical and computer engineering and computer science department, estimates his research has brought in anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000.

Steckl, an Ohio Eminent Scholar, is researching unique luminescent materials that make flat panel displays, like plasma screens, more rugged and brighter. He's been granted three of eight patents he's applied for.

Steckl attributes much of the success of the various inventions to the Intellectual Property office.

"Not every university has got such a supportive IPO office as we do," he said.

Funding for research has been improving, although UC ranks 82nd for funding out of the schools surveyed.

In 2001, it received about $100 million for research, about 90 percent of which came from the federal government, Kordal said.

"Typically, one should expect one new invention for every $2.5 million in research.

"We're close to twice the national average," Kordal said.

UC is trying to expand its research facilities and attract more top researchers, which will help bring in more funding, Kordal said.

This is the third straight year UC has ranked highest among Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana colleges and universities.

UC raised about $2.15 million more than Indiana University, about $3.9 million more than Ohio State University, and about $3.1 million more than the University of Kentucky Research Foundation.

Some UC patents

• A vaccine that can be taken orally without being destroyed by the digestive system, by Gade Michael, a former UC researcher.

• A way to extend the shelf life of blood donations, by Tibor Greenwalt, a former researcher at the UC Hoxworth Blood Center.

• A new use for Topiramate, a Johnson and Johnson drug used to treat epileptics. Susan McElroy, a UC psychiatry professor, found it could also treat obsessive-compulsive disorders.

• Brighter and more durable flat panel displays using luminescent materials, by Andrew Steckl, professor in UC's electrical and computer engineering and computer science department.


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