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K-State Today

September 11, 2017



Celebrate 75 years of technology transfer at the Kansas State University Research Foundation

By Sarah Hancock

The Kansas State University Research Foundation, or KSURF, was formed 75 years ago this month when President F.D. Farrell organized individuals from the university and industry to create KSURF in response to a Kansas Board of Regents patent policy. KSURF logged its first invention disclosure from Harold W. Batchelor in 1942 for making stoppers for bottles and test tubes and filed its first patent application in 1944 for a plastic container for frozen foods to be used in freezer lockers.

Since then, KSURF has helped K-State innovators secure more than 250 U.S. patents, license more than 300 technologies and generate more than $37 million in licensing revenue. One thing that has changed over the years is the cost of a patent. Filing that first patent in 1944 cost $40.60 and an estimated $80 to secure a grant. Patent applications now cost in the neighborhood of $10,000 for U.S. protection and can cost more than $25,000 over the life of a U.S. patent.

Chris Brandt, president and CEO of KSURF, said the patent process also has changed. "Patenting an invention is now a complex global process, but KSURF's intellectual property expertise can help K-State technologies reach the world," he said.

According to Brandt, innovations come from many different fields — not just the main land-grant colleges of agriculture and engineering. KSURF sees a wide array of technologies such as animal vaccines, chemical catalysts, food products, software applications, materials, cell-phone batteries, radiation detectors and biological materials. Success stories include:

Brandt said that the wide variety of invention disclosures indicates the breadth of research strength at K-State.

"Researchers at our institution are especially adept at producing innovations that enhance animal health and food and crop production — we have deep expertise in global food systems. We also see innovations in energy storage and nanotechnology that will support clean energy and health applications," he said.

KSURF's services prove valuable to faculty inventors.

"I am a researcher, not a prospective CEO or patent lawyer," said Stefan Bossmann, professor of chemistry. "Collaboration with KSURF enables me to identify the most valuable intellectual property that comes from my research program. KSURF facilitates expert legal advice and invaluable support in creating new business ventures for the commercialization of our intellectual property."

KSURF will host a celebration of its diamond anniversary on Sept. 21. Drop by the K-State Alumni Center Tadtman Boardroom from 4:30-6 p.m. to enjoy cake and light refreshments. Remarks will take place at 5:15 p.m. For more information, contact 785-532-5720. RSVP to attend the reception.

View a list of K-State patents granted since 2009 or read about last year's inventor recognition.