U.S. universities top latest worldwide patent count

U.S. universities make up all but one of the top 10 schools worldwide with the most patents for new technologies in 2018, a new study shows.

The new technologies include, from Harvard College, a way to fight counterfeit currency and, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an electronic capsule that patients swallow to allow doctors to electronically track key vital signs.

Graphic giving five patent examples (State Dept./S. Gemeny Wilkinson)

The latest list of international patent rankings comes from the U.S. National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association. It’s based on data collected from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The list focuses on “utility” patents, which cover the creation of a new or improved product, process, or machine, and are the most common type of patent that the U.S. awards.

Arthur Daemmrich, director of the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian Institution, notes that of the 6,833 utility patents granted to the top 100 universities in 2018, more than a third of the patents went to the top 10 universities.

Patents are just one measure of a country’s innovation, Daemmrich says. “What the numbers cannot tell us is how important these patents will be for the introduction of new products in the future, whether medicines, electronics, engineering systems, or others.”

This article is by freelance writer Linda Wang.