UArizona ranks 28 among top 100 universities granted U.S. utility patents in 2021
The university held this same position in the 2020 report, indicating continued productivity in driving impact from research and innovation.

By Paul Tumarkin, Tech Launch Arizona
Sept. 7, 2022


commemorative coin
TLA presents UArizona inventors with a coin for each patent issued. This year's coins will be presented in April at an event commemorating World Intellectual Property Day. This coin was printed for Dong-Chul Pyun, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, who co-invented, with Ruongguang Liang, a novel method for 3D printing ultra-high refractive index optical polymers. The materials are of interest for use in lightweight, inexpensive lenses and other optical components and devices. Paul Tumarkin/Tech Launch Arizona

The University of Arizona is among the top 100 worldwide universities with the most U.S. patents granted for inventions in 2021. The university is ranked No. 28, according to the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association. 

The rankings, released today, are based on utility patents issued between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2021. During that period, the university had 86 patents issued, five more than in 2020. In 2018, UArizona ranked No. 66, then rose to No. 39 in 2019, and to No. 28 in 2020.

"Our incredible progress and success with patented inventions points to the real-world impact generated by University of Arizona research," said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. "It is a thrill to see our talented researchers translating their work into inventions and innovations that make a real, meaningful difference for people across the globe."

Among the university's patented inventions in 2021 were a plant-based antimicrobial food and hand sanitizer, a falloscope device for ovarian cancer detection, and an implantable trifocal lens that allows patients with cataracts to see near, middle and far distances. The university licensed the trifocal lens to health care company Alcon, and it has now been implanted in over 1 million cataract patients.

The university deepened its commitment to technology commercialization in 2012 with the creation of Tech Launch Arizona, or TLA, an office dedicated to commercializing inventions stemming from UArizona innovations. The university has continued to generate growth in innovation and inventorship in recent years. In fiscal year 2022, it had its most inventive year, with faculty, researchers and staff reporting over 300 inventions.

"As we celebrate our 10th anniversary of TLA and the entire effort of creating impact through commercializing University of Arizona inventions, this ranking – the securing of patents – is just the first step on the continuum," said Doug Hockstad, TLA associate vice president. "Ultimately, our goal is to license these inventions to companies who can take them forward into the world and integrate them into solutions like therapeutics, devices and applications that can make the world a better place, create jobs and stimulate economic growth."

"Tech Launch Arizona empowers faculty and staff to address pressing societal needs by translating research and innovation into invention and impact," said Elizabeth "Betsy" Cantwell, UArizona senior vice president of research and innovation. "This ranking speaks to TLA's success in integrating commercialization into our culture as a university."

The National Academy of Inventors uses data obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and highlights the vital role patents play in university research and innovation. Published annually since 2013, the report ranks the top 100 universities named as first assignee on utility patents granted by the office during the 2021 calendar year.

"Innovation based on university technology continues to be a key factor in economic development. The expansion of technology and innovation are fundamental to the success of a university," said Paul R. Sanberg, president of the National Academy of Inventors. "The NAI is pleased to be releasing this list of the top innovation universities in the world in conjunction with the IPO for the tenth year in a row."

Fifty-seven NAI member institutions are represented this year in the Top 100. They hold a total of 4,663 patents spanning a wide variety of fields, including medicine, technology and engineering. The IPO Top 300 Patent Owners List, published annually since 1985, ranks organizations worldwide that received the most U.S. utility patents during the previous calendar year. According to the list, 2021's Top 100 universities, including U.S. and international universities, received 7,665 patents.


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