Officials from the University of Rochester reacted today to the signing of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, legislation which reforms and modernizes the nation's intellectual property system.
"Research universities are important sources of new technologies and intellectual property that can fuel economic growth," said Joel Seligman, the President of the University of Rochester. "One important way this intellectual property is commercialized for public use is by licensing patents. This new law will significantly improve the effectiveness of our patent system. I applaud the President and the New York State Congressional delegation for their bipartisan support for this bill."
President Barak Obama signed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act into law today. The new law makes several significant changes which clarify and simplify the U.S. patent application process and harmonizes the system with the nation's major trading partners. Major new provisions in the law include:
- Converting from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system, a standard that is consistent with other major international patent regulations;
- Establishing new administrative and post-grant review procedures that will improve patent quality and reduce litigation costs;
- Providing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with the resources it requires to resolve the backlog of patent applications and streamline and modernize its operations.
"The America Invents Act brings the U.S. patent system into closer alignment with the laws of many other countries," said Gail Norris, Senior Counsel for Technology Transfer & Intellectual Property at the University of Rochester. "In a global economy driven by fast-paced technological innovation, we need a patent system that is as efficient and effective as possible. This law includes many provisions that modernize the U.S. patent system to this end."
About the University of Rochester Technology Transfer
Over the last 5 years, the University of Rochester has received more than $1.9 billion in total research funding. The University currently holds 273 U.S. patents—115 (42%) are under license—and 106 foreign patents. On average, the University files 67 U.S. provision and 65 non-provision patent applications per year.
Since 1996, 51 start-up companies were created based on University of Rochester technologies, of which 38 are still active. When surveyed in 2009, these companies employed almost 268 full-time-equivalent employees.
The University—in partnership with public sector and the region's other research universities and business community—has helped create a regional infrastructure designed to foster the growth of early stage technology companies. These resources include:
- Excell Partners, an affiliate of the University of Rochester, is a regional economic development partnership that manages a state-supported investment pre-seed and seed stage fund for high-tech start-up companies in the region. Since its inception in 2005, Excell has provided $2.5 million in funding to 21 seed stage technology companies spun off from the region's universities and research institutions.
- High Technology Rochester, an affiliate of the University of Rochester, provides a wide array of support services for early stage technology companies such as market assessment, business plan development, management coaching, capital access, and resource connections. HTR operates two technology incubators and is the Empire State Development/ NYSTAR Regional Technology Development Center for the Finger Lakes region.
- The University is also home to the Center for Emerging & Innovative Sciences (CEIS), one of fifteen NYSTAR-sponsored Centers for Advanced Technology devoted to promoting regional economic development through academic and industry partnerships.
In recent years the University has also developed education programs—most notably its Master of Science in Technical Entrepreneurship and Management and numerous programs through the University's Center of Entrepreneurship—to help train the region's next generation of high technology business leaders. It has also created a Technology Development Fund that provides grants to scientists to help advance a technology closer to the stage where it can be transferred to the market.