CU-Boulder among the nation’s leaders in patent power

IEEE Spectrum’s annual U.S. patent scorecard analysis—2010 Patent Power—reviewed more than 1,000 world organizations to find out who owns the most influential patent portfolios. According to Spectrum, the analytic methodology “goes beyond patent counts to emphasize how frequently a company’s patents are cited by other patents.”

Researchers and inventors build on each other’s work to promote the progress of science. In the category of Universities/Education/Training, the University of Colorado ranked 14th, immediately behind Stanford and MIT.

An example of a start-up company receiving proof-of-concept funding from the university is Tigon EnerTec Inc., which designs modular, energy efficient, and eco-friendly propulsion systems and is developing a more efficient aircraft engine.

CU-Boulder completed an option agreement with Tigon for CU technology enabling efficient management of hybrid engines in aircraft.

A team of researchers led by Professor Jean Koster with aerospace engineering sciences (AES) developed a method for switching between an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. The ability to transition seamlessly between the two motors maximizes overall efficiency and minimizes fuel consumption, while still meeting the high power needs of takeoff and climbing. The research group has also made a number of adjustments to the system, nicknamed HELIOS, to reduce the weight, complexity, and cost of their hybrid engine.

Tigon grew from an AES senior project called HELIOS and the HELIOS project is a graduate of the CU-Boulder Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI) Market Assessment Program.

“Tigon represents CU and RASEI’s strong focus on developing market relevant technologies that have immediate and broad real world applications,” said Trent Yang, director of entrepreneurship and business development at RASEI.