One of the many things people don't know about Mayo Clinic is the number of medical inventions that come from our researchers. They are aimed at improving patient care, based on needs seen by physicians in the clinic. I am told by my Intellectual Property colleagues that someone comes up with an idea for a potential invention every day...365 days a year. That may be for a device, an improvement for an existing technology, a therapy or a drug. This has been going on for years and a heat map on the U.S. Patent Office website shows Rochester, MN, glowing rather brightly due to per capita patents.
Why is this important? Just as medical knowledge is integrated into the practice of medicine through medical literature, training and conferences, medical innovations and technology move into the worldwide practice through commercialization. Mayo (and most other academic research centers) don't develop and produce products that can be used by physicians. We don't have factories or manufacturing plants. We do come up with the ideas or help research concepts, but then partner with a company to produce and market the invention. That's where intellectual property comes in... you have to establish legal rights to the idea or invention in order to advance it down the pipeline. Mayo does that pretty well, thanks to our OIP (Office of Intellectual Property). Last year Mayo filed nearly 300 patent applications. Since 1986 .. let's call it in the last generation, Mayo's filed 3461 applications resulting in more than 1159 patents and more than 629 active licensing agreements. We've commercialized 1895 technologies in that same period, and developed 49 start-up companies. My favorite "did you know" fact about this: Every MRI machine in the world has Mayo patented improvements on it. And that could be a segue to a discussion of Mayo's leadership in Magnetic Resonance Imaging research (check out the Opus Building if you're every on our Rochester campus -- it's dedicated solely to imaging research), but that's for another blog post. If you're at BIO this week here in Washington, Mayo's OIP folks are at booth 2649.
Follow Mayo's OIP on Twitter: @MayoInvents .