University Royalties Up 12% in 2001, AUTM Reports

Royalties on product sales from technology developed by Canadian and U.S. academic research institutions jumped to $845 million in 2001, up 12 percent from the previous year, according to the AUTM Licensing Survey: FY 2001.

Gross licensing income received from licenses and options, however, declined from $1.26 billion in FY 2000 to only $1.071 billion in FY 2001 as 7 percent fewer new licenses and options were executed.

Prepared annually by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), the survey is a comprehensive report featuring data about technology licensing activities collected from a record-high 198 U.S. and Canadian universities, teaching hospitals and research institutions.

Technology transfer of academic research is receiving considerable attention by state and local technology-based economic development officials based on the anecdotal success and profits earned at a handful of universities. Columbia University alone, for instance, earned nearly $130 million in royalties in FY 2001. Visions of licensing income ever generating substantive income relative to the total academic research portfolio should be tempered, however — the FY01 survey reveals that of 22,937 activies licenses reported, only 131 generated more than $1 million in income that year.

Nonetheless, university tech transfer can play an important role on local economic development. At least 494 new companies were formed in FY01 based on academic research — 84 percent of them in the state or province of the academic institution where the technology was created. The survey also found that since 1980, a total of at least 3,870 new businesses have been created; 2,159 were still in operation as of FY01.

AUTM also found universities more often taking equity positions with their start-ups, increasing from 56 percent of all new business creations in FY00 to 70 percent in FY01. Sixty-seven percent of new licenses and options were negotiated with newly formed or existing small firms. Start-ups received exclusive rights in 91 percent of their agreements with academic institutions.

The prospect for greater revenues for university tech transfer efforts remains. In FY01 alone, 95 reporting institutions identified at least 358 new commercial products that were introduced to the marketplace under license agreement with commercial partners, several of which are highlighted in the survey. And, according to respondents, more than 1,500 new products have been introduced to the marketplace since 1998. Additionally, the number of invention disclosures reported and the number of U.S. patents applications filed rose 4 and 6.9 percent, respectively.

The May 22, 2003 online edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education identifies the top 10 institutions based on FY01 royalty income as including:

* Columbia University, $129,895,000

* Massachusetts Institute of Technology, $73,992,534

* University of California system, $66,725,000

* Florida State University, $62,077,749

* Stanford University, $38,755,000

* Michigan State University, $30,051,523

* University of Rochester, $29,589,000

* University of Florida, $28,589,460

* New York University, $25,691,655

* University of Washington, $25,027,192

The Executive Summary for the AUTM Licensing Survey: FY 2001 is available for free download on the AUTM website (institutional rankings are not included in the executive summary). The full report is available for purchase by the public for $180. More information is available at


Copyright State Science & Technology Institute 2003. Information in this issue of SSTI Weekly Digest was prepared under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration. Redistribution to all others interested in tech-based economic development is strongly encouraged — please cite the State Science & Technology Institute whenever portions are reproduced or redirected. Any opinions expressed in the Digest do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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