By Donald Zuhn --
On Monday, the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) announced the results of a survey showing that university start-ups and licensing activity remaining strong even at the height of the country's worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The AUTM survey found that 596 university start-ups were created in 2009, a number that was close to the 2008 tally. While the survey also found that licensing revenue declined 32.5% in 2009, AUTM attributed this drop to the fact that universities had negotiated extraordinary partial royalty buyouts that significantly boosted overall royalties in 2007 and 2008, which was not repeated in 2009. When the number of licenses -- rather than licensing revenue -- is examined, the survey shows that the number of licenses actually rose by 5.6% in 2009.
The AUTM survey also found that in 2009 invention disclosures increased by 1% to 20,309; research expenditures increased by 4.2% to $53.5 billion; income from licenses hit $2.3 billion; 8,364 new U.S. patent applications were filed by survey respondents; and 3,417 U.S. patents were issued to survey respondents. While the number of issued patents was up from the 2008 total of 3,280, the 2009 tally was still well below that of FY2003, when survey respondents secured 3,933 patents (see "AUTM Survey Shows Drop in Issued Patents").
AUTM President Ashley Stevens said the survey reveals "that universities were able to maintain their level of start-up company creation [in 2009]," and noted that "[t]he majority of these start-ups are located in the licensing institution's home state, [which is] further proof that the Bayh-Dole Act continues to have a positive impact on local economies."
Additional information regarding the AUTM survey can be found in reports by newswise, Business News Daily, and the Tech Transfer Blog. While AUTM has not yet made the FY2009 licensing survey available, previous surveys can be obtained here.