With 43 patents, the University of Akron ranks 60th worldwide according to a new report, Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents in 2017. The University of Akron is also the top-ranking public university in Ohio on that report. The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) compiled data obtained from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to produce the rankings.
“We are ecstatic that UA, which is renowned for its global leadership in technological sciences and innovation, has been recognized by the NAI and IPO,” said Kelly Bialek, University of Akron IP manager. “The flow of invention disclosures from our distinguished faculty enrich our innovation ecosystem at UA and throughout the region.”
UA’s most prolific inventor, Professor Joseph Kennedy of the Department of Polymer Science, is a named inventor on more than 100 issued U.S. patents, spanning his careers in both industry and academia. In 2017, Kennedy was awarded three U.S. patents in one day – the first time this has happened at the University of Akron, and a rare occurrence at any university.
Among the recent patents issued to and licensed by The University of Akron are:
- A degradable polymer mesh that can time-release non-opioid pain medicine over a roughly five-day period after a surgery, invented by Dr. Matthew Becker, W. Gerald Austen Endowed Chair of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering. The device, which was licensed by Fortem Polymers, part of the 21MedTech family of companies, strives to reduce reliance on addictive opioid pain killers. 21MedTech, which is located in Akron’s Bounce Innovation Hub, has already raised about $11 million to support development and testing of the technology, and is working with pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. on the project.
- A new chemistry for improved electrical contact stabilization materials invented by Professor Mark Soucek and Distinguished Professor Emeritus Miko Cakmak of the Department of Polymer Engineering. This new discovery is based on a UV-curable formulation, which shows considerable performance advantages over the incumbent product used in printed circuit boards, Stabilant 22. This discovery was exclusively licensed to the research sponsor, Imagine Research, which plans to commercialize it for mission-critical applications in aerospace, the military, aviation, advanced automotive, and medical electronics.
- Hands-free, wireless goggles that provide real-time imagery to help guide surgeons, invented by Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Yang Liu. The technology was licensed by Akron-area startup i-Imaging LLC, which recently raised $150,000 to design and manufacture a new prototype device in preparation for starting the FDA approval process.
“Our faculty are innovative and produce quality intellectual property — we are pleased to receive this recognition,” said Dr. George Chase, president of The University of Akron Research Foundation (UARF) and The University of Akron (UA) director of STEM research. “Past and current administrations should be credited with fostering an environment that supports and encourages creative research.”