February 10, 2013

Ithaca Named Top City for Patent Issuance, Invention

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In a Feb. 1 Brookings Insitution report that presents patenting trends on a regional level, Ithaca was ranked 19th nationally for most patents granted per capita, with 97 patents granted per year from 2007 to 2011.

Additionally, Cornell was ranked the top patenting company in Ithaca, with 73 patents issued in 2011, according to the report.

According to Alan Paau, the University’s executive director and vice provost for technology transfer and economic development, Cornell recieves funds specifically to conduct research, which adds to the number of patents that are granted in Ithaca.

“Indeed, Cornell contributes [to] and influences the inventiveness of Ithaca very much,” Paau said. “[Cornell spends] more than $700 million from various sources a year to do research, and some of [its] research results become patentable inventions.”

Prof. Aija Leiponen, applied economics and management, echoed Paau’s sentiments.

“Most of the patents that make Ithaca so highly ‘inventive’ are actually applied for by Cornell University itself,” Leiponen said. “Cornell, along with other major research universities, applies for many patents on inventions deriving from the scientific discoveries of its faculty.”

According to Prof. William Lesser, applied economics and management, Cornell also contributes to the number of patents issued in Ithaca through new companies that form as a result of new technologies discovered at Cornell.

“Much patenting here [in Ithaca] is attributable to the Cornell Center for Technology Enterprise and Commercialization, which licenses inventions made by Cornell employees,” Lesser said. “Another explanation is the number of startups by Cornell faculty and students. They are heavily involved in the fields of software and biotech, both major foci of patenting.”

Leiponen said some of Cornell’s patents have also been licensed to startup companies and have become “very successful products and services.”

Ithaca-based Advion Inc. –– a company that performs mass spectrometry, the use of a machine to identify subtances based on molecular weight –– was co-founded by Prof. Emeritus Jack Henion, toxicology, and currently holds 48 patents. According to Amy Boardman Lummus, Advion’s marketing manager, the company has purposefully stayed in the Ithaca area.

“The work [Henion’s] Cornell laboratory performed led to several industry-changing technologies as well as contributed significantly to Advion’s founding,” Boardman Lummus said.

“One of the main reasons Advion is located and has remained located in Ithaca is due to the strong talent pool in the area … Cornell’s strong science, technology and engineering programs contributes heavily to the talent. Nearly all of the inventors listed on Advion’s patents have ties to Cornell.”

Original Author: Rebekah Foster