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University Startup Creation, Licensing Activity Strong Despite Downturn

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In fiscal year 2009, in the midst of the Great Recession, 596 new U.S. companies were formed as a result of university research, according to survey data published Oct. 4 by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), a nonprofit association of academic technology transfer professionals.

AUTM announces the release of highlights from the AUTM U.S. Licensing Activity Survey: FY2009, a report scheduled for release at the end of the year. The survey summary shares quantitative information about and real-world examples of licensing activities at U.S. universities, hospitals and research institutions.

"The data in this survey reveal that universities were able to maintain their level of startup company creation," says AUTM president Ashley J. Stevens. "The majority of these startups are located in the licensing institution's home state, further proof that the Bayh-Dole Act continues to have a positive impact on local economies."

Enacted on December 12, 1980, the Bayh-Dole Act enabled academic institutions and businesses to retain title to inventions made under federally funded research programs and created a uniform intellectual property management policy for the federal agencies that fund research. This year marks the Act's 30th anniversary.

"The data offer a glimpse into the state of academic technology transfer," says Shawn Hawkins, AUTM vice president for metrics & surveys. She adds, "Total license income declined 32.5 percent from what had been reported in fiscal year 2008, but this was expected because the 2008 figures included two large, one time royalty stream monetization payments totaling close to $1 billion. The 2009 figure is much closer to the historic trend line without 2008."

Highlights of the AUTM U.S. Licensing Activity SurveyTM FY2009 include:

  • 658 new commercial products introduced
  • 5,328 total license and options executed, 4,374 of which were licenses
  • 596 new companies formed
  • 3,423 startup companies still operating as of the end of FY2009
  • $53.5 billion total sponsored research expenditures
  • 20,309 disclosures
  • $2.3 billion total licensing income

Patents filed

  • 18,214 total U.S. patent applications
  • 8,364 new U.S. patent applications
  • 1,322 non-U.S. patent applications

Patents issued

  • 3,417 issued U.S. patents


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