By Luke Frank

UNM among top 100 worldwide universities granted U.S. patents in 2016

Health Sciences Center contributes more than one-third of university patents

The University of New Mexico (UNM) ranks thirty-third among the top 100 worldwide universities granted U.S. utility patents in 2016, according to a report from the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO).

"We made a significant leap this year to thirty-third in the world from 2015's ranking of forty-seventh," says Lisa Kuuttila, CEO and chief economic development officer of STC.UNM, the University's technology-transfer and economic-development organization. "Since 2013 we've climbed at a steady pace."

According to Kuuttila, about 35 percent of the 2016 patents were issued to inventors at UNM's Health Sciences Center. "Overall, we have seen a steady increase each year in the number of issued patents to inventors at the HSC," she adds. Innovations in the areas of biotechnology and engineering have been most prolific in generating patents, which Kuuttila attributes to the high level of applied activity in these disciplines.

The NAI and IPO have published the report annually since 2013. The rankings are compiled by calculating the number of utility patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that list a university as the first assignee on the issued patent. Data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is used to highlight the important role patents play in university research and innovation.

Universities and university inventors are innovators and drivers of economic growth," Kuuttila adds. "There is no question that the patents received each year by UNM inventors are a confirmation of the research quality and market potential of their new discoveries."

She says the patents also are important because they protect inventors' intellectual property rights. "Our patented technologies are essential to the companies who want to license them, and to our start-up companies who need investors to help them bring these new technologies to the marketplace," Kuutilla explains. "This relationship between patents and commercialization activity has an undeniably positive impact on local and global economies."

The full report of the Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents in 2016 can be found at

Categories: Research