Working through the vitas from our faculty in the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and Food Science and Human Nutrition departments, I noticed that a number of our faculty had successfully applied for patents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Our nascent collection of patents quickly drew the eye of our repository platform vendor, bepress, who recently featured our patent collection in their blog, DC Telegraph.
An important form of intellectual property rights, patents give inventors a limited period of exclusive rights to their inventions, in exchange for public disclosure of their inventions. (For more information, see http://www.uspto.gov/patents/). The awarding of a patent speaks to both the originality and usefulness of an invention.
In my experiences with other institutional repositories, I’ve noticed that patents are not commonly captured in other repositories. Perhaps, this is because patents are available through the USPTO and Google Patents.
Making patents available through Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, however, provides an easy way for visitors to see tangible outputs of research being conducted by Iowa State’s faculty, students and staff. In addition to listing all of Iowa State’s patents in a centralized location, we also list patents by campus units—academic departments, centers and institutes. This allows our campus units to easily showcase the inventions of their faculty, students and staff.
We’ve started working with the Iowa State University Research Foundation, Inc. (ISURF), the Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer (OIPTT) and our Special Collections Department to systematically capture Iowa State’s patents in Digital Repository @ Iowa State University.
As we grow Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, we are constantly on the lookout for ways to showcase the excellent research being done on campus. I’m excited to continue working with our faculty, students and staff to see what we can do next.