TAU first in Israel in patents
A new report, published by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), utilizing data acquired from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, has ranked Tel Aviv University 48th in the world in receiving U.S. patents. With 54 patents granted in 2016, the report ranks TAU above all other academic institutions in Israel and places it 8th among institutions outside the United States.
Prof. Yoav Henis, TAU's VP of Research and Development, sees the achievement as "evidence of the enormous potential that lies in the research of our senior academic staff. Registering a patent is the first step in a long journey from basic research to practical applications and their results."
According to Ramot, the technology transfer arm of Tel Aviv University, over 60 start-up companies globally are currently based on patented technology developed at TAU. All in all, the university has about 2,500 patents across a multitude of fields. In the last few years there's been a rise in patents in the fields of engineering and computer programming.
How do patents work?
Before applying for a patent, Ramot must determine that an invention or discovery is truly meaningful and has practical, commercial applications. Ramot considers about 120 ideas for patents a year, out of which about 90 are submitted to a patent office for approval.
What are the criteria for granting a patent in the U.S.? For starter, the idea must be truly innovative and have real-world applications. Something purely theoretical would likely be rejected.
At TAU, most patents carry the names not only of lead researchers but also of their students who helped make an important discovery. This way students are exposed not only to the scientific aspect of their studies but also get a taste of the business world and the process of commercialization.