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Patent power

CWRU is inventing and innovating at a world-class rate 

For the third consecutive year, Case Western Reserve ranked among the top 25 patent-producing universities in the world, indicating that campus research is translating into innovations and inventions. 

A survey by the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association found that the rate of inventing at CWRU in 2020 ranked the university 21st among the world’s 100 leading research universities. CWRU also ranked 21st in 2019, down slightly from 17th in 2018. 

Its collection of patents, primarily connected to the Case School of Engineering and the CWRU School of Medicine, has risen every year since 2015. 

“The increasing number of patents is phenomenal,” said Michael Hagg, executive director of CWRU’s Office of Research and Technology Management. 

He credits translational research programs, like the Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership, which help research teams to include commercialization efforts in their projects. He added that the rising rate of invention coincides with more companies spinning out of campus. 

Recent examples of impactful startups include Path Robotics, a robotic welding company founded by a pair of engineering students using technology they developed at Sears think[box]. (See related story in this issue on page 20). 

The annual survey counts U.S. utility patents, the primary patent for inventions, awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It found that CWRU secured 105 utility patents in 2020. That’s more than double the number to spring from campus in 2016. The rate of patenting places CWRU ahead of the University of Chicago, Cornell, Duke, and Vanderbilt universities. 

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