From an insulin pump to a cell sorter, UCSB helped the University of California receive more patents than any other university in the nation for the 11th consecutive year in 2004.
According to a United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announcement, the UC system earned 424 patents in 2004, 33 of which came from UCSB. Overall, the University submitted an estimated 6,618 inventions for patents and publicly disclosed 1,200 new inventions. The income received from the University’s agreements with industries that use their patented goods grossed $93.2 million in the 2003-04 fiscal year. Sherylle Englander, director of Sponsored Projects and Intellectual Property, a part of the UCSB Office of Research, said a portion of the revenue is reinvested into research and education on UC campuses.
Englander said patents serve as teaching functions by disseminating information on a larger scale.
“The University receives a nonexclusive license that a company can pick up and market, and anyone in the world has access to that information,” she said.
Englander said the UC received significantly more patents than the other top five patenting universities – the California Institute of Technology received 135 patents, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology got 132, the University of Texas patented 101 inventions, Johns Hopkins University received 94 and Stanford University totaled 75 patents.
Government-issued patents are not automatically granted after an invention is submitted, Englander said. Receiving a patent requires significant communication between the patent office and the developers.
Englander said the UCSB departments of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Biology, Materials and Physics are among those that developed inventions.
Among UCSB’s portfolio of patents is the invention of chemical engineering professor Francis J. Doyle III, who patented an insulin pump that offers people with Type I diabetes the most advanced safeguard to date against complications, Englander said. Doyle’s invention, which was developed in collaboration with Sansum Diabetes Research Institute physician and UCSB faculty member Lois Jovanovic, calculates patients’ shifting daily insulin needs and supplies the exact, consistent blood glucose management essential to long-term health for diabetes patients, she said.
Another UCSB patent is a cell sorter, an essential biology tool that measures, isolates and purifies cells, among other functions. Englander said mechanical and environmental engineering professor Hyongsok “Tom” Soh patented the cell sorter using a nonuniform electric field in a large array of fluid channels operating simultaneously on a chip. The result is an inexpensive and disposable cell sorter that can process up to 1 million cells per second.