Universities face a challenge when hawking innovations

Hundreds of technology-transfer offices have popped up on university campuses over the past 20 years to enable universities to facilitate the commercialization of innovations and discoveries pioneered by their professors. Licensing patents for the inventions is a commercial opportunity for universities, which hope to make money selling the intellectual property and to see faculty research make a tangible impact in the marketplace. While all the inventions might be equally genius, they aren’t all valued equally. The question for technology-transfer offices is: What will sell? A professor at the Olin School of Business found that the ease of selling intellectual property doesn’t necessarily depend on whether the innovation has received patent protection. More…

War on intellectual property theft in China best fought at local level, suggests new book

Spurred by concerns over China’s booming economy, the Bush administation plans to crank-up pressure on Chinese authorities to curtail the rampant theft of intellectual property — the black market in pirated films, software and equipment that costs American companies billions in lost sales. While anti-piracy rhetoric plays well in Washington, a new book on the “Politics of Piracy” in China suggests that external diplomatic pressure will have little effect on China’s ability to enforce international norms on copyrights, trademarks and patents. “The key to gaining enforcement of those laws lies at the local level,” says the book’s author, WUSTL China specialist Andrew Mertha.

Washington University in St. Louis, Monsanto Co., awarded patent for technology that creates disease-resistant crops

Washington University in St. Louis and Monsanto Co., Creve Coeur, Mo., have been issued patent 6,608,241 by the United States Patent Office. The patent is for a technique that protects crops from devastating viral diseases that currently threaten or harm many important food crops. The inventors are Roger Beachy, Ph.D., president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and professor in the department of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University, and Robert T. Fraley, Ph.D., Monsanto chief technology officer and former Monsanto research scientist Stephen G. Rogers.