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LSUS Innovation Explosion: Leading the Nation in innovation Productivity and Setting the Bar for Faculty Invention Engagement

October 05, 2016

Legislation has changed in the last few years that now gives LSU Shreveport the ability to take secure patent applications on campus rather than at the system level. Building on this new freedom, this past year marks the second record year in a row of innovation at the University. In the last fiscal year, about one-third of the science faculty at LSUS submitted invention disclosures- a level of faculty engagement multiple times higher than some of the nation's premier research universities. LSUS has become so efficient in turning research into innovation, that the university has lead the nation for the past two years in innovation productivity, or invention disclosures per research dollar. In 2014 LSUS doubled the number two campus in the nation. In 2015, LSUS had an innovation productivity rate three times that of the next university, and well ahead of any other college in Louisiana. By any measure, incredible things are happening at LSU Shreveport.

Last year, for example, Dr. Urska Cvek and Dr. Marjan Trutschl in computer science had five invention disclosures- official reports of new technology to be vetted for patenting. The technology is normally kept confidential until a patent application is filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent application is an official document written by the faculty with the aid of a patent attorney that explains what the invention is, how it works, and who can benefit from it, and it will normally publish 18 months after filing.

"Whether it be a new drug or a widget to make something work better, the faculty members must disclose the technology in a document called ‘The Disclosure to the University' and it basically says what their invention is, how it can be used, and if they have done presentations or written publications about it," said Amanda Lewis, interim director of Sponsored Research and Technology Transfer at LSUS. "Then we read the document to see if we want to file a provisional patent application, which is the first time the idea goes off campus to the U.S. Patent Office. At that point the faculty have a year to file for the full patent application, in our case it is called a utility patent, and submit it after developing the invention."

The full patent application must meet all qualifications for a U.S. patent. After months to a couple of years, a Patent Examiner will examine the application and will normally issue an "Office Action" rejecting all the claims in the application. Lewis said that this is when the researchers must sit with a patent attorney and review the rejection, determine where the holes are in the Examiner's arguments, and craft arguments and amend the patent claims as necessary to further the application's prosecution, and send the response back to the Patent Office. This back and forth may happen two or three times before the Examiner issues a "Notice of Allowance" that the patent application is ready to issue as a Patent. Lewis said this is a normal process that strengthens the patent and makes it better than it was before.

Other inventors include Dr. Stephen Banks, Dr. Dalton Gossett, and Dr. Cran Lucas in the department of biological sciences who had two disclosures that were co-invented by two graduate students based on their master's theses. Encouraging students to participate in the inventing process is another way LSUS is looking to stand above the crowd.

"The future is about innovation, no matter what subject, but especially in the sciences. We are looking into getting students active in the patenting process, because it will put them in a better position when applying to a potential employer if they can show they understand how to capture innovation through patenting," Lewis said.

Additionally, over the past two years, Dr. William Yu, professor of chemistry, has submitted seven disclosures, has filed six provisional patent applications, and is in active prosecution with four patents applications. Dr. Yu is a cutting-edge researcher and developer in nanotechnology that Lewis said is receiving much interest in his research from around the world.

"It's good for Shreveport because we have these technologies that become the basis for startup companies, and that provides high paying jobs and other financial investment in the community," Lewis said.

Dr. Gary Boucher, retired professor of physics at LSUS, initiated a patent in 2007 for a prescription medication control system and method machine that weighs and dispenses the appropriate amount of medicine based on information entered into the device. LSUS' first patent came in 2012 from Dr. Boucher after the patent was officially finalized.

"One of the mission statements of LSUS is to stimulate a supportive learning environment and encourage an atmosphere of intellectual excitement. How much more exciting can you get than working with professors who have patented technology and are leaders in their field? Or better, working to develop the patented technology, or being an inventor yourself," Lewis said. "I think that is a real exciting point and I think that it is something students don't know about. LSUS focuses on innovation. It's not just about science, but the student experience as a whole. Our faculty are productive at rates well above their peers across the nation, so students get this unique hands-on front-line experience with innovation as well. As I like to say, excellence in innovation is spelled LSUS."

Louisiana State University Shreveport is a public university proudly serving the Shreveport-Bossier educational community with more than 20 undergraduate degree programs, a dozen master's degree programs (including the new online MBA), and a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership Studies, as well as over 70 student organizations. LSUS is a member of the LSU System, and provides a number of centers and institutes that serve as valuable economic development and educational resources to the community, as well as to our students. To find out more about LSUS, call 318-797-5000, or visit

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