Technology & Innovation 17(4) Abstracts

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Technology and Innovation, Vol. 17, pp. 147-152
1929-8241/15 $90.00 + .00
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982416X
14520374942825
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2016 Cognizant, LLC.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

Highlights From the Fourth Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors

Kimberly A. Macuare* and Morteza Gharib

*National Academy of Inventors, Tampa, FL, USA
†California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA

This article presents highlights from the Fourth Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), which was held on March 19–20, 2015, in Pasadena, CA. The NAI conference provides an annual forum for the celebration of academic invention and inventors, thus furthering the mission of the academy to recognize and encourage invention and enhance the visibility of university and nonprofit research. For those who would like more information about individual panels or lectures, please see the conference web page, where you can find videos of all conference presentations (http://www.academyofinventors.org/conference/2015-videos.asp).

Address correspondence to Kimberly A. Macuare, Ph.D., Assistant Editor, Technology and Innovation, Journal of the National Academy of Inventors® at the USF Research Park, 3702 Spectrum Boulevard, Suite 165, Tampa, FL 33612, USA. Tel: +1-813-974-1347; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Technology and Innovation, Vol. 17, pp. 153-158
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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982416X
14520374942861
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2016 Cognizant, LLC.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

Basic Science to Blockbuster Drug: Invention of Pregabalin (Lyrica®)

Richard B. Silverman

Department of Chemistry, Department of Molecular Biosciences, Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, Center for Molecular Innovation and Drug Discovery, and Center for Developmental Therapeutics, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA

This article is based on a short presentation, given at the fourth annual meeting of the National Academy of Inventors in March, 2015, in which I discuss the scientific basis leading to the invention of pregabalin (Lyrica®) and the design elements of the series of molecules that included the one that became Lyrica®. The unexpected observation that this class of molecules activated the enzyme L-glutamate decarboxylase led to the excitement of a potential firstin-class drug to treat epilepsy. I then discuss the arduous process of attaining an industrial partner, intellectual property coverage, agreements between the company and Northwestern University, and the road to commercialization. Once the drug was on the market, I began to receive e-mails of gratitude from patients using Lyrica®, and I give anonymous quotes from some of these testimonials. Because this commercialization process was new to Northwestern University, there were some oversights in the language of the license agreement, resulting in unpleasant experiences with the industrial partner. I note lessons learned from this process and the importance of academic invention.

Key words: Pregabalin; Lyrica
®; GABA aminotransferase; L-glutamate decarboxylase; Invention

Address correspondence to Richard B. Silverman, Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-3113, USA. Tel: +1-847-491-5653; Fax: +1-847-491-7713; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Technology and Innovation, Vol. 17, pp. 159-167
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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982416X
14520374942906
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2016 Cognizant, LLC.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

Global Patterns of Innovation in 2013

Ashley J. Stevens

Focus IP Group, LLC, Winchester, MA, USA

This article examines global patterns of innovation as measured by receipt of issued US patents based on an annual listing of the recipients of that year’s issued patents published by the USPTO. The US remains the top innovator in the corporate, governmental, and academic sectors. However, second place goes not to the established economies of Europe, but to those of Asia. The leading Asian patenting countries—Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China—together receive almost three times as many patents as the total received by the four leading European countries—Germany, France, the UK, and Italy. Innovation is highly concentrated; fewer than 800 organizations received 40 or more US patents in 2013 and accounted for 62.3% of all innovation. Sixty-six of the top 101 universities receiving US patents were in the US, receiving 4,248 patents or 73% of the patents issued to universities. The leading US universities receiving patents were the University of California System, MIT, and Stanford. Only 10 countries had universities on the list, with six in Asia, two in the Middle East, one in Europe, and one in North America. Another group of important inventing and patenting organizations consists of government laboratories and nonprofit research institutes. Thirty-four organizations received a total of 4,227 US patents, which is 80% of the number of patents received by three times as many universities. The government laboratory/nonprofit research institute list is led by two leading Asian nonprofit research institutes—ETRI in South Korea and ITRI in Taiwan.

Key words: Innovation; Regional; Patterns; US patents; Companies; Universities; National laboratories; Nonprofit research institutes

Address correspondence to Ashley J. Stevens, D.Phil. (Oxon), CLP, RTTP, President, Focus IP Group, LLC, 70 Yale Street, Winchester, MA 01890, USA. Tel: +1-781-721-2670; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Technology and Innovation, Vol. 17, pp. 169-176
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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982416X
14520374942942
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2016 Cognizant, LLC.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

The Critical Role of Failure in the Innovation Process: How Failures Help Inventors Succeed

Yolanda Leslie Comedy* and Sorin Grama†‡

*American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Washington, DC, USA
†Promethean Power Systems, Somerville, MA, USA
AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador Program, Washington, DC, USA

In a 2011 interview, Steve Jobs declared, “You’ve got to be willing to fail. You’ve got to be willing to crash and burn.” While this concept is not yet widely accepted in our culture and seems counterintuitive to our human desire to succeed, we argue that failure is actually the key to success. Indeed, Thomas Edison was famous for saying, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” which beautifully expresses the crucial role failure plays in the invention process. Our AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassadors, while celebrating and highlighting the role that invention plays in improving our quality of life, are quite open to discussing their own stories of failure—financial, emotional, academic, and personal. For years, Paul Stamets funded his own research on mycelium; Steve Sasson, inventor of the digital camera, was ignored by the leaders at Kodak; and Jay Harman preached the importance of vortexes for business people who could not see beyond the straight line. Using the case study of Promethean Power Systems, a start-up that developed a rapid-cooling milk chiller sold to dairy processors in India, the authors demonstrate that a natural and necessary part of the invention ecosystem is the willingness to take risks and embrace failure. Peter Sims asserts that “we live in a culture that has a paralyzing fear of failure, which prevents action and hardens a rigid perfectionism,” but Promethean Power’s story demonstrates that, when coupled with introspection and perseverance, failure can be an effective tool for innovation.

Key words: Invention; Innovation; Failure; Risk-taking; Entrepreneurship

Address correspondence to Sorin Grama, Promethean Power Systems and AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador, Inaugural Class, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Center for Advancing Science & Engineering Capacity, 1200 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA. Tel: +1-202-326-6780; Fax: +1-202-371-9849; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Technology and Innovation, Vol. 17, pp. 177-186
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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982416X
14520374942988
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2016 Cognizant, LLC.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

Wireless Health Sensors for In Vivo Diagnostics

Muhammad Rahman, Meisam Nazari, Mehmet Sencan, Samson Chen, Xio Madera, and Axel Scherer

Electrical Engineering, Caltech, Pasadena, CA, USA

We have developed wireless metabolic sensors for continuous in vivo monitoring of disease progression and treatment efficacy. Our sensors consist of intelligent RF tags that are embedded subdermally and powered from a reader. These chips are able to provide real-time quantitative information on the concentration of metabolites through a digital wireless communications system and can be used to monitor patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetes or cancer, during treatment.

Key words: Wireless; Medical; Diagnostic; Sensors

Address correspondence to Axel Scherer, Department of Electrical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, 1200 East California Boulevard, Mail Code 136-93, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA. Tel: +1-626-395-4585; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Technology and Innovation, Vol. 17, pp. 187-192
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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982416X
14520374943022
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2016 Cognizant, LLC.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

The NAI Fellow Profile: An Interview With Dr. Steven Chu

Steven Chu* and Kimberly A. Macuare

*Department of Physics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
†National Academy of Inventors, Tampa, FL, USA

In an interview for Technology and Innovation, Nobel Laureate and former Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu discusses his most recent work and shares his candid thoughts on doing innovative science, teaching students to think, and the fundamental importance of communication for scientists.

Address correspondence to Kimberly A. Macuare, Ph.D., Assistant Editor, Technology and Innovation, Journal of the National Academy of Inventors® at the USF Research Park, 3702 Spectrum Boulevard, Suite 165, Tampa, FL 33612, USA. Tel: +1-813-974-1347; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Technology and Innovation, Vol. 17, pp. 193-196
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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982416X
14520374943068
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2016 Cognizant, LLC.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

Invention: Does Gender Matter?

Philippa Olsen
Office of the Chief Communications Officer, United States Patent and Trademark Office, Alexandria, VA, USA

Women are named as inventors on fewer than one in five patents even though more women are entering the science and technology fields. With the increasing importance of intellectual property to the economy, addressing this gender disparity is fast becoming a business imperative and an issue of global competitiveness. On November 10, 2015, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) held a roundtable discussion to discuss what forces are driving this disparity and what we can do about it.

Key words: Patents; Intellectual property; Women; Gender; United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

Address correspondence to Philippa Olsen, Office of the Chief Communications Officer, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, USA. E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Technology and Innovation, Vol. 17, pp. 197-204
1929-8241/15 $90.00 + .00
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982416X
14520374943103
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2016 Cognizant, LLC.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

Consideration of Technology Transfer in Tenure and Promotion

Judy Genshaft,* Jonathan Wickert,† Bernadette Gray-Little,‡ Karen Hanson,§ Richard Marchase,¶ Peter E. Schiffer,# and R. Michael Tanner**

*University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA
†Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA
‡University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA
§University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
¶University of Alabama, Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA
#University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA
**Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Washington, DC, USA

Universities face increasing expectations from both the public and elected officials to contribute to the economic development of their respective states, geographical regions, and the country. Technology transfer activities have proven to be a key way to meet these new imperatives. Despite the university’s expanded mission and the growing role of tech transfer, the academic community has yet to produce a consistent framework for evaluating faculty activities in technology transfer and their societal benefits. In response to this situation, the authors, working as the APLU Task Force on Tenure, Promotion, and Technology Transfer, surveyed US and Canadian universities to ascertain current approaches for defining technology transfer activities and recognizing them in assessing faculty performance. Building on the results of that survey, the authors offered the following five recommendations: 1) university policy statements should acknowledge the merit of technology transfer as part of the university’s work, while including safeguards against conflicts of interest or commitment; 2) technology transfer activities should be explicitly included among the criteria relevant for promotion and tenure at the university, college, and department levels, as appropriate to the respective disciplines; 3) technology transfer activities should be an optional component of the review process, one that will be rewarded when present but not seen as a requirement for everyone; 4) recognizing the unique character of technology transfer, the criteria should be flexible enough to encompass high-quality work in many forms of creative expression; and 5) technology transfer activities should be evaluated for intellectual contribution and expected social benefit consistent with the accepted process of peer review and without reliance on artificial metrics.

Key words: Technological transfer evaluation; Faculty review; Tenure and promotion; Conflict management

Address correspondence to R. Michael Tanner, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, 1307 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005, USA. Tel: +1-202-478-6040; Fax: +1-202-478-6061; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Technology and Innovation, Vol. 17, pp. 205-210
1929-8241/15 $90.00 + .00
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982416X
14520374943149
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2016 Cognizant, LLC.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

Creating a Culture of Invention: Fostering Student Innovation and Invention Through Proactive Intellectual Property Policy and Practice

Phil Weilerstein* and Nathalie Duval Couetil

*VentureWell, Hadley, MA, USA
†Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA

Universities have long been drivers of technological innovation and the seedbeds where new ideas and early scientific discoveries are reduced to practice. Technology commercialization and entrepreneurship play an important role in the research and economic development mission of many institutions and have come to the forefront given economic trends and increasing demands for impact. This has led to an increased focus on engaging entire campuses in innovation activities, with more graduate and undergraduate students involved in the generation of intellectual property (IP) through research, curricular, and experiential activities. While policy governing faculty ownership and rights to inventions is relatively well established at most institutions, how best to align student interests with institutional policies and practices remains a work in progress at many others. The purpose of this article is to raise awareness of the needs of student inventors and how these needs align with the economic, scientific, and educational outcomes of the institution and its constituents. It is also to suggest that the emergence of a culture of invention and innovation requires more than just policy. Combining educational resources, practical support, and a systematic recognition and celebration of the work of emerging inventors can complement effective IP policy and encourage the participation of students in the institutional innovation ecosystem.

Key words: Intellectual property policy; Invention; Innovation; Entrepreneurship; Entrepreneurship education

Address correspondence to Phil Weilerstein, VentureWell, 100 Venture Way, Hadley, MA 01035, USA. Tel: +1-413-587-2172; Fax: +1-413-587-2175; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Technology and Innovation, Vol. 17, pp. 211-217
1929-8241/15 $90.00 + .00
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982416X
14520374943185
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2016 Cognizant, LLC.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

The Protocol-Provided Clinical Research Model as an Evolving Research Opportunity for Community-Based Hospitals and Health Care Facilities

Harry W. Severance* and Kevin M. Spiegel†

*Erlanger Institute for Clinical Research, Erlanger Baroness Medical Center/Erlanger Health System and University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Chattanooga, TN, USA
†Erlanger Health System and University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Chattanooga, TN, USA

There is an evolving model of protocol-provided clinical research that has become more standardized as a research pathway over the last several decades. This model, with reduced research-specific infrastructure requirements and whose trial processes, management, and business operations are very similar to those of standard-of-care clinical and business operations performed by community-based patient-care facilities, now offers a pathway for traditionally non-university-affiliated “nonacademic” community-based hospitals and health care facilities to enter into the arena of clinical research.

Key words: Academic medical centers (AMCs); Clinical research; Community-based hospitals; Protocol-provided clinical trials; Multicenter trials; Site-based research

Address correspondence to Harry W. Severance, M.D., Erlanger Institute for Clinical Research, 979 East 3rd Street, Suite B-1203 POB, Chattanooga, TN 37403, USA. Tel: +1-423-778-3900; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Technology and Innovation, Vol. 17, pp. 219-226
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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982416X
14520374943220
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2016 Cognizant, LLC.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

Innovations in Groundwater Management: Smart Markets for Transferable Groundwater Extraction Rights

Richael K. Young* and Nicholas Brozović

*Mammoth Trading, Lincoln, NE, USA
†Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE, USA

While no national policy on groundwater use exists in the US, local groundwater management is emerging across the country in response to concerns and conflicts over declining well yields, land subsidence, and the depletion of hydrologically connected surface waters. Management strategies include well-drilling moratoria, pumping restrictions, and restrictions on the expansion of irrigated land. To provide flexibility to groundwater users, local regulatory authorities increasingly have begun to allow the transfer of groundwater rights as a cost-effective management tool. For example, active groundwater rights transfers exist in the High Plains region of the US. Since most groundwater pumped in the High Plains region is used for irrigation, the transfers of use rights are predominantly between agricultural producers. Yet several barriers to trade exist: high search costs for interested parties, complicated requirements for regulatory compliance, and reluctance to share sensitive financial information. We discuss how “smart” markets address these needs and encourage more active trading, thereby ensuring local goals for aquifer sustainability while growing local economies.

Key words: Groundwater management; Tradable permit systems; Environmental economics; Water markets; Smart markets

Address correspondence to Richael K. Young, President and Co-Founder, Mammoth Trading, P. O. Box 22845, Lincoln, NE 68542-2845, USA. Tel: +1-308-520-9296; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it