Reaching New Heights: USF is 5th Leading Public University in U.S. Patents Ranking

June 8, 2017

TAMPA, Fla. – With 114 new utility patents issued in 2016, the University of South Florida ranks fifth among American public universities and 11th among universities worldwide in generating new U.S. Patents, according to a new report published by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO).

USF’s new record-setting annual patent total also ranked first among Florida universities in what is widely recognized as a measure of institutional productivity and prominence. USF has ranked in the report’s top 10 of American public universities for the past seven years and consistently ranks in the top 20 of global universities.

“This impressive ranking represents the tremendous dedication of USF faculty, staff and students working to build a powerful center of innovation and invention,” said USF System President Judy Genshaft. “Each new patent represents our commitment to research, discovery and creativity that solves global problems, expands our economy and opens new doors of opportunity for others.”

The ranking is the latest marker of success for USF’s efforts to translate academic research into new technologies, medicines and products. USF’s technology transfer effort provides faculty members with institutional support to patent and license their technologies; credit in the tenure process for inventions; and guidance and early-stage funding in creating their own startup companies.

USF joins the University of California System, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the University of Texas System and the University of Michigan as the top American public institutions in the ranking.

Other Florida universities listed in the top 100 ranking are the University of Florida with 91 patents; University of Central Florida with 56 patents and Florida State University with 48 patents.

In a separate ranking released by the IPO Monday of patents issued to the Top 300 organizations worldwide, USF joined the list at 294. To put that ranking into context, that’s just one patent behind the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Sandia National Laboratories, and three patents ahead of global pharmaceutical corporation Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

The patented technologies in USF’s record-setting year include a wide range of inventions. For example:
– In 2016 a U.S. patent was issued to a Ketone Ester Supplement for the Treatment of Angelman Syndrome, a project led by USF Health faculty members Edwin Weeber and Dominic D’Agostino and doctoral student Stephanie Ciarlone. The ketone supplementation has been found in research to alleviate seizures, cognitive disruption, motor coordination deficits and other symptoms in Angelman’s Syndrome, a devastating neurological disorder. This technology is licensed to Disruptive Nutrition, LLC, which is currently developing a medical food for use by Angelman’s patients, with a targeted release date of 2018.

– At USF’s Global Center for Hearing and Speech Research, a team led by Robert D. Frisina was granted a patent for a hormone treatment for age-related hearing loss. Permanent hearing loss affects about 40 million people in the U.S. alone and there are no FDA approved drugs on the market. The new treatment, which has been successfully studied in aging mice, has been designed to prevent or slow the progression of age-related hearing loss. The project has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Institute on Aging.

– A patent was issued in 2016 for Systems and Methods for Authentication Using Multiple Devices, developed by USF College of Engineering faculty Jay Ligatti and Dmitry Goldgof, along with students Jean-Baptiste Subils and Cagri Cetin. “Co-authentication” was created to improve information security while logging in to websites with sensitive information or otherwise securely authenticating the identity of users online. Co-authentication is an extra security measure during authentication where a user can conveniently authenticate themselves by having at least 2 devices associated with them on their person. Essentially, the devices do the authenticating. This technology is nonexclusively licensed to Stone Vault LLC.

The rankings are compiled by calculating the number of utility patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office which lists a university as the first assignee on the issued patent. The full report of the Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted Patents in 2016 can be found at


The University of South Florida, established in 1956 and located in Tampa, is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. The USF System includes three, separately accredited institutions: USF; USF St. Petersburg; and USF Sarasota-Manatee. Serving more than 49,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is ranked in the Top 30 nationally for research expenditures among public universities, according to the National Science Foundation. In 2016, the Florida Legislature designated USF as “Emerging Preeminent,” placing USF in an elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.

About the National Academy of Inventors
The National Academy of Inventors is a 501(c)(3) non-profit member organization comprising U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutes, with over 4,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 250 institutions. It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society.

About the IPO
The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), established in 1972, is a trade association for owners of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. IPO is the only association in the U.S. that serves all intellectual property owners in all industries and all fields of technology. IPO advocates for effective and affordable IP ownership rights and provides a wide array of services to members, including: supporting member interests relating to legislative and international issues; analyzing current IP issues; information and educational services; and disseminating information to the general public on the importance of intellectual property rights.