UVM Patent Filings

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UVM has recently experienced a dramatic and precipitous drop in rankings of patents granted to universities. However, those rankings use ten-year cumulative patent grants, and patents currently take two years on average to be processed by the USPTO. Moreover, UVM could conceivably have been granted increasing volumes of patents but failed either to keep up with its peers or with patent inflation, resulting in a relative decline.

BigQuery Code

Accordingly, I retrieved all of UVM's patent filings to the USPTO from Google Patents Public Dataset using the following SQL in BigQuery:

WITH Patent_Matches AS (
	PARSE_DATE('%Y%m%d', SAFE_CAST(ANY_VALUE(patentsdb.filing_date) AS STRING)) AS Patent_Filing_Date,
	patentsdb.application_number AS Patent_Application_Number,
	ANY_VALUE(assignee_name.name) AS AssigneeName
	FROM `patents-public-data.patents.publications` AS patentsdb,
	UNNEST(assignee_harmonized) AS assignee_name
	WHERE LOWER(assignee_name.name) LIKE '%univ vermont%' AND patentsdb.country_code = 'US'
	GROUP BY Patent_Application_Number
Date_Series_Table AS (
	SELECT day, 0 AS Number_of_Patents
	(SELECT MIN(Patent_Filing_Date) FROM Patent_Matches),
	(SELECT MAX(Patent_Filing_Date) FROM Patent_Matches)
	)) AS day
SELECT SAFE_CAST(FORMAT_DATE('%Y-%m',Date_Series_Table.day) AS STRING) AS Patent_Date_YearMonth, COUNT(Patent_Matches.Patent_Application_Number) AS Number_of_Patent_Applications
FROM Patent_Matches
RIGHT JOIN Date_Series_Table
ON Patent_Matches.Patent_Filing_Date = Date_Series_Table.day
GROUP BY Patent_Date_YearMonth
ORDER BY Patent_Date_YearMonth;

Note that UVM's harmonized assignee name is UNIV VERMONT. Also, I could only go up to 2017, as patent applications are typically not disclosed for 18 months to protect their investors.



The dropoff in patenting over the last five years is so large that I immediately suspected a right-truncation issue. However, the USPTO data underlying Google's Public Patent Data dataset does appear to have applications in it. The grant date is set to 0 whenever the patent isn't granted. Moreover, the USPTO processing time just isn't that long... So, instead, the results are suggestive of a structural change in UVM's patenting activities somewhere around 2013.

According to this data, UVM had its best year on record in 2013 with 24 filings. However, it made just 4 filings in 2015, which was its lowest count since 1998, and then just a single filing in both of 2016 and 2017, which tie 33-year lows. Of course, UVM's own data may show material for 2018 and 2019.

Administration Timeline

UVM's 26th President, Tom Sullivan, began his term in July 2012, and hired/appointed much of his administration in the following two years. Richard Galbraith was appointed VP of Research in July 2014. Suresh Garimella became the 17th President of UVM in October 2019. Garimella previously had notable success in spurring the development and commercialization of technology at Perdue University, where he was the inaugural Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships.