LSU Ranks No. 56 Among Top 100 Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents

June 04, 2024

The ranking by the National Academy of Inventors is the highest in university history

BATON ROUGE — LSU jumped to No. 56 among universities granted U.S. utility patents in the National Academy of Inventors’ 2023 Top 100 ranking. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, there are more than 2,500 undergraduate degree-granting institutions in the nation. The National Academy of Inventors ranks the top 100 among them using the number of patents received by their faculty in a single year.

The rankings mark the university’s highest ranking, surpassing 2022’s placement as No. 75.

“LSU’s ranking demonstrates the excellence of our research enterprise and the faculty’s dedication to pursuing cutting-edge advances to improve the lives of Louisiana residents and people throughout the world,” said LSU President William F. Tate IV. “Our innovators formulated unique technologies that range from advancing cancer treatments and hypersonic aircraft design to cleaning up oil spills and biodegradable plastic. Our university’s mission is to help inventors realize these kinds of breakthroughs. Their discoveries are the reason we’ve made research a top priority at LSU and why Scholarship First matters.”

The 35 LSU-patented inventions in 2023 include:

  • An environmentally friendly way to clean up oil spills using nanoparticles of lignin, a complex polymer found in plants and wood.
  • A 3D breast cancer cell culturing system that mimics the way tumor cells grow and interact to drive drug resistance, so scientists can test new treatments faster and more effectively.
  • Biodegradable plastic made from microalgae. Researchers have already created biodegradable Mardi Gras beads and the environmentally friendly plastic can also be used in consumer products.

Utility patents cover the creation of new or improved products, methods or machinery. Securing a patent is a complicated, costly and time-consuming process that may take several years. However, LSU has developed strategies to increase innovators’ odds of successfully securing patents and licensing their discoveries, including:

  • Providing legal and technical assistance to file patents through the Office of Innovation & Technology Commercialization.
  • Making LSU part of a National Science Foundation regional I-Corps hub. Faculty and students gain support, including entrepreneurial training, to commercialize their technologies and ideas.
  • Establishing the Leverage Innovation for Technology Transfer Fund, or LIFT2, to move LSU technologies and innovations to the market. The grants bridge the gap during the period before a startup generates revenue through commercialization.

The Top 100 list is published annually by the National Academy of Inventors. The rankings highlight and celebrate the universities that play a        prominent role in advancing innovation in the United States.

“The monetary value of patents may vary. While patents lead to startups and create jobs in the local economy, that is only a portion of patents’ total value,” said Robert Twilley, LSU vice president of research and economic development. “Patents also set LSU apart as a leader in research and innovation. Patents stimulate additional research and help draw talented faculty and student inventors who want to work with those creators or at a university that so strongly supports discovery.”

NAI President Paul R. Sanberg said protecting intellectual property is key to making sure the U.S. remains competitive in “the international innovation ecosystem.”

The Top 100 ranking recognizes universities are not only innovating at high levels but taking the additional step of protecting their intellectual property through patents, he added.

“Our goal at LSU’s Office of Innovation & Ecosystem Development is to help LSU inventors, whether that’s protecting their discoveries with patent filings, licensing their intellectual property to businesses, helping them create startups or guiding them through the process of pursuing small business research grants from the federal government,” said Andrew J. Maas, LSU associate vice president of research for innovation and ecosystem development.

“It’s gratifying to see so many LSU innovators progress to the patent stage. We’re excited about working with them to transfer these early-stage inventions to the marketplace, where they can benefit society as a whole,” said Spencer Rogers, LSU director of innovation and technology commercialization.

NAI’s Top 100 U.S. Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents list is created using calendar year data provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Top 100 placement includes all named assignees listed on the patent. 

See the full Top 100 U.S. Universities rankings here.

About LSU’s Office of Innovation & Technology Commercialization

LSU’s Office of Innovation & Technology Commercialization (ITC) protects and commercializes LSU’s intellectual property. The office focuses on transferring early-stage inventions and works into the marketplace for the greater benefit of society. ITC also handles federal invention reporting, which allows LSU to receive hundreds of millions of dollars each year in federally funded research, and processes confidentiality agreements, material transfer agreements and other agreements related to intellectual property.

About the LSU Office of Innovation & Ecosystem Development

LSU Innovation unites the university’s innovation and commercialization resources under one office, maximizing LSU's impact on the intellectual, economic and social development of Louisiana and beyond. LSU Innovation focuses on establishing, developing and growing technology-based startup companies. LSU Innovation oversees LSU Innovation Park, a 200-acre business incubator that fosters early-stage tech companies, and the Office of Innovation & Technology Commercialization, which streamlines the process of evaluating, protecting and licensing intellectual property created by LSU researchers. LSU Innovation serves as the host organization for the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network, which oversees all SBDC services across the state as well as the LSU SBDC, which provides free consulting services to small businesses across the state. LSU Innovation helps Louisiana technology companies apply for seed funding through the federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grant programs. LSU Innovation educates faculty, students and the community on entrepreneurial principles through the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, which trains innovators to consider the market opportunities for pressing scientific questions, leading to increased funding from state and federal grant programs as well as industry partners and licensees.