Tuesday, November 9, 2010

'Pipeline Originality' Helps Tech Rank High

Virginia Tech robot Charli.^

Virginia Tech ranks 10th among universities globally in the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Spectrum Patent Power Scorecards, which analyzed the strength of patent portfolios for calendar year 2009.

"Pipeline originality is what earned us the high ranking," says Mark Coburn, president of Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Inc . According to IEEE, "Pipeline originality measures the variety of technologies upon which an organization's patents build, based on the concept that inventions created by combining ideas from several different technologies tend to be more original than those that make incremental improvements upon the same technology."

Patents that refer only to earlier patents of the same technology will have a low originality score, while a patent that refers to numerous kinds of technologies is more original.

A 2009 Virginia Tech patent that illustrates pipeline originality is for a ceramic-metal composite material that dampens vibrations, making it useful in useful in vehicles, marine propellers and building materials. The patent for "Ferroelastic Ceramic-Reinforced Metal Matrix Composites" references patents from several different areas, including different materials, bonding methods, systems, and actuators, said Coburn.

"Incorporating ferroelastic ceramic particles in a metal matrix also strengthens the composite," he said. "Virginia Tech makes a point to support research that crosses disciplines to solve problems. Our inventions are often the creative integration of technologies, resulting in robust products," says Virginia Tech Vice President for Research Robert Walters.

During fiscal year 2010, 37 U.S. patents and seven foreign patents were awarded to Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties, and 44 license and option agreements were signed.

(Virginia Tech photo.)

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