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UNM a top patent winner

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico is garnering national and international recognition for its efforts to patent and market its research, and for its leadership in innovation and economic development.

UNM scored 42nd this year on a list of 100 universities and research organizations worldwide that received U.S. patents in 2014. It’s the second year in a row that UNM has made the list, which is compiled annually by the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association. Last year, it ranked 56th.

“We are so pleased that we have made a significant jump in the rankings,” said Lisa Kuuttila, UNM’s chief economic development officer and president and CEO of the Science and Technology Corp., UNM’s tech-transfer office. “The University of New Mexico has first-class researchers who create first-class technologies that have great marketability for new products in so many industries in healthcare to semiconductors.”

Achieving patents is a key part of UNM’s efforts to commercialize new university inventions. That’s because intellectual property protection provides a critical enticement for investors to license and market new technologies.

“Patent protection makes the university an important player for commercialization in the international marketplace,” Kuuttila said. “Without IP protection, investors won’t invest in your technology.”

UNM has made invention disclosures by faculty and applying for patents on those discoveries a priority as it seeks to build its technology transfer program. As a result, UNM has achieved far more issued patents in recent years, and far more disclosures by faculty seeking IP protection through the STC.

The university received 45 patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2014 — three times more than the 15 patents it received 10 years ago. Faculty disclosure also grew by 50 percent in the same period, and patent applications by 70 percent.

Apart from its ranking internationally, UNM placed 31st in number of patents received in 2014 compared to other universities in the U.S., Kuuttila said. That’s up from 40th in 2013.

Meanwhile, UNM was also designated this month as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity university by the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, one of just 15 universities that received the designation this year. The classification provides national recognition for universities that are working with public and private sectors to support economic development through a variety of activities, such as innovation, entrepreneurship, technology transfer  and development of talent, workforce and community, UNM President Bob Frank said in a prepared statement.

“UNM is thrilled to be recognized for this work with our public and private partners in New Mexico,” Frank said.