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Penn State to Host Second Patent Auction

Christmas is just more than a month away, which means that now is the perfect time to start buying some Christmas presents for friends and family. If you’re struggling for ideas, we’ve got good news: Just in time for the holiday season, Penn State is selling off 112 of its unused patents! Instead of jewelry, why not buy the patent for green bio-diesel for the opening bid of $10,000?

All kidding aside, Penn State is something of a trailblazer in the nascent field of patent-selling for universities, and the results of the auction should be interesting. In April, Penn State became one of the first American universities to sell its own patents, as universities are notoriously protective of their intellectual property. And though it only sold two of the 59 patents it had for sale, that was considered a success because of the insights it provided for future auctions of this nature.

“This was anything but a bonanza for PSU, and I speculate that they didn’t even cover their costs of running the auction (they had to develop software to conduct the auction),” wrote Forbes’ Neil Kane at the time. “But still they are to be applauded to doing something profound: Finding the market clearing price for hard to appraise intellectual property.”

Patent auction number two is set to be held online from Dec. 8 through Dec. 12, and a full list of the patents and their descriptions can be found here. The auction is being held by the Office of Technology Management.

Like the first auction, the patents being auctioned off are ideas that once held a lot of promise, but have since never had an opportunity to be a commercial success. “We can’t think of another way to market them, and so, we thought, let’s try an auction,” explained Ron Huss, the Associate Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer.

Penn State holds about 580 patents total, and almost 40 percent of them have been commercially licensed. If the patents are not sold, Penn State may choose to stop paying the licensing fee.

Here’s a list of some of the patents (or possible presents) on the list:

  • Ultrasonic motor ($5,000)
  • High efficiency moving magnet loudspeaker ($5,000)
  • Vehicle safety seat system ($5,000)
  • Coating foods with pharmaceuticals with an edible polymer using carbon dioxide ($5,000)
  • Active floor vibration control system ($5,000)
  • Container for transporting antiprotons ($5,000)
  • High producing rate of nano particles by laser liquid interaction ($5,000)
  • Process for fabricating hollow electroactive devices ($20,000)
  • And finally, the most expensive patent: Methods for treating nerve-related vision disorders, such as diabetic retinopathy, through periocular drug delivery ($25,000)

About the Author

Brandilyn Heckman

is a junior majoring in Secondary Education (English). Though she commutes to class from her home in Penns Valley, she refuses to be called a 'townie.' Along with Onward State, she currently interns with the Centre Daily Times. In her spare time, she is unafraid to show her love for Penn State, Landon Donovan, and Captain America. You can follow her on twitter at @Brandilynh or contact her via email with [email protected]

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