Thursday, November 23

Technology patents may earn over $1 million


Last year, UCLA received more than $10 million in supplemental
income from the sale of patented technology.

According to the Office of Intellectual Property Administration,
this year is looking even better.

UCLA is expected to earn over $1 million for its most recent
patent agreement, said George Abe, the office’s business
development manager for physical science.

The agreement was negotiated for several weeks and covers nine
patents that deal with transmitting images over wireless
devices.

“This is the largest patent agreement in the history of
UCLA’s School of Engineering,” Abe said.

After several years of research on a multimedia communications
project, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences cemented a
license agreement between the Image Communications Laboratory and
Samsung, Abe said.

With the drastic increase of wireless communication devices like
cell phones and palm computers, images and video clips need to be
sent as clearly and efficiently as possible, said John Villasenor,
the research group’s adviser and an electrical engineering
professor.

“Companies that are able to offer high-quality multimedia
services to their customers will distinguish themselves from the
competition,” Villasenor said.

Villasenor and his research group worked directly with Samsung,
who funded the project and even sent researchers to UCLA.

Samsung and UCLA had joint ownership of the research collected
while the research was being conducted, Abe said. 

“Now, Samsung is granted exclusivity over the
patents,” he said. “They have the rights to market, use
and modify the technology.”

Emily Loughran, director of licensing at the OIPA, handled the
negotiation process, which took a few weeks to complete. 

Loughran told The Associated Press she had been aware of the
potential for the patents for a while.

“While we were confident in our ability to license the
patents, our first preference was to license (the patents) to
Samsung, since they were our collaborators in the research that led
to the innovations,” she said.

Of the royalties collected from Samsung, 35 percent will go to
the individual researchers involved in the project, and 65 percent
will go to the University of California Board of Regents.

“This kind of rigorous, academically ground-breaking
research is of great value and interest to the world’s
leading technology companies,” said Vijay Dhir, dean of the
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

“It is a valuable learning tool for the students,”
Dhir added.

Villasenor also talked about the importance of research
projects, saying that successful research is a win-win for everyone
involved.

It provides students with support in guiding them throughout the
research project, and provides them with increased knowledge of
their related field, he said.

It also brings in revenue for schools, researchers, companies
involved and the related industry.

“Overall, these projects serve to make society a better
place,” Villasenor said, emphasizing the benefits
advancements in technology offer the public.

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