ASU ranks 8th in U.S., 11th globally for utility patents

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Wednesday, September 13, 2023 - 12:28pm
Updated: Thursday, September 14, 2023 - 8:16pm

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In 2022, ASU secured a U.S. patent for a flexible wearable robotic device to treat plantar flexion contractures. The patented reusable device reduces spasticity and stiffness and increases range of motion.

Arizona State University ranked eighth among U.S. universities granted utility patents last year and 11th worldwide, according to a list released by the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association.

The list counts patents that list the university itself as owner.

In 2022, ASU secured 160 utility patents, up from 153 in 2021.

One patent involved efficient power electronics using gallium nitride semiconductors. Another documented a soft, wearable robotic device to treat plantarflexion contractures, a painful condition in which the foot is stuck bending forward or downward, often due to a central nervous system injury or disease.

ASU trailed the University of California schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Texas system, Purdue University, Stanford University, Harvard University and California Institute of Technology.

University of Arizona came in 22nd with 92 patents, and Northern Arizona University placed 67th with 26.

A utility patent isn’t about building a better power or phone service, though the two worlds can overlap.

Rather, it’s a type of patent that covers new or improved products, processes and machines (as opposed to design patents, which protect the unique visual qualities of a manufactured item, or plant patents, which covers distinct and new varieties of plants).

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