Patent Leaders in Poland

Universities compete in making and patenting inventions. Biodegradable films or a device for detecting disease biomarkers in the exhaled air – these are examples of university solutions that have recently been patented.

Out of 3,042 patents granted by the Polish Patent Office to domestic and foreign entities, almost 47% of exclusive rights were granted to universities, research institutes and scientific entities of the Polish Academy of Sciences. This is what we can read in the recently published annual report of the Polish Patent Office for 2019.

West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin: 121 patents

The leader position was held by the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin (121 patents). The second place was taken by Lublin University of Technology (118), and the third – by Lodz University of Technology (101). The remaining two positions in the top five were occupied by Wrocław University of Science and Technology and the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow, with 85 and 83 patents obtained, respectively.

For another successive year, the West Pomeranian University of Technology (ZUT) is one of the leading universities in terms of the number of exclusive rights obtained, and for the second time it achieves the best results. ‘Once again, the work of our scientists was reflected in the number of patents obtained by ZUT. ZUT obtained 121 patents in 2018 and 2019 each. It should be noted that a patent is granted only following an examination of the state of the art. Thus, a patent confirms the global level of novelty and unobviousness of the research results achieved at universities. And so, a university’s patent achievements are an important indicator of its position,’ emphasizes the Rector of ZUT, Prof. Jacek Wróbel.

Cooperation between inventors in different fields

The cooperation of various entities resulted, among others, in a solution in the form of rotary heads for incremental forming of building structures (Faculty of Architecture and Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics). These heads enable the extrusion of uncured building material and the creation of building structures with cylindrical shape such as columns, towers, chimneys, or silos.

Laboratory at the West Pomeranian University of Technology (ZUT). Photo: ZUT

Another example of cooperation, this time between scientists from the Faculty of Chemical Technology and Engineering and the Faculty of Biotechnology and Animal Husbandry, was a series of solutions for bioreactors used in biotechnological processes involving microorganisms. Moreover, the Faculty of Chemical Technology and Engineering developed inventions concerning various types of self-adhesive tapes, biodegradable films, methods of limonene oxidation, mixers used in chemical processes, as well as new chemical compounds and photoactive, catalytic or sorption materials.

Lublin University of Technology: from lab to production hall

‘The high position of Lublin University of Technology in the report confirms the innovativeness of our employees’ research work. We are the leader in terms of the number of applications submitted in 2019, which was 135. Taking into account the number of invention patents and utility model protection rights granted by the Polish Patent Office, we are one of the most active institutions in Poland,’ says Prof. Zbigniew Pater, Rector of Lublin University of Technology (LUT).

The Vice-Rector for General Affairs and Development of LUT, Prof. Dariusz Czerwiński, adds: ‘Effective transfer of the best solutions to the market is one of the most important tasks of the university. This is what the socio-economic environment as well as the researchers themselves expect. That is why it is so essential to provide appropriate equipment and organisational and financial background at the university, so that the employees are interested in commercialisation and want to benefit from patent protection. I think this is something that works well at our university, and as a result, our scientists are becoming increasingly effective,’ emphasizes the Vice-Rector.

Inventions made in Lublin

Examples of solutions developed at Lublin University of Technology include: a device for plasma treatment of plants, a device to support training, mainly rowing and kayaking, a sound transducer, as well as a tool for cross-rolling forged balls. Other solutions proposed by LUT scientists are devices for filtering and recovering heat from flue gases discharged through a chimney.

Moreover, Łukasz Kwaśny and Karol Fatyga, in cooperation with Dariusz Zieliński and Bartłomiej Stefańczak from the Department of Electrical Drives and Machines at LUT, invented a system and a way to control a transformer with an energy storage.

‘The solution is a breakthrough because it can replace the classic MV/LV power transformer used to supply electricity to single-family houses, factories and all facilities requiring power supply. There are more than a hundred thousand devices of that kind in the whole country. The introduction of this solution makes it possible to accumulate energy while maintaining all the functionalities of the classic transformer,’ explains Karol Fatyga, M.Sc.

 Innovative solutions for the market – a win-win strategy

For Lodz University of Technology (TUL), ranked third in the report, scientific and research activity, which is the most important factor in university development, is expressed, among others, by the activity of research teams in creating solutions with an innovative character and market potential.

‘Lodz University of Technology obtained 101 patents in 2019. Each of them is significant for the economy and has an impact on the development of technology. Often, in addition to the usefulness of a patented solution for various industries, obtaining such protection is also part of a patent policy of securing solutions against competition. It is also important to strengthen the cooperation of Lodz University of Technology with the market and to stimulate the interest of businesses in implementing the results of the solutions developed at the university. Commercialisation of research results is an important element of win-win relations between science and business,’ says TUL spokesperson, Dr. Ewa Chojnacka. ‘The patenting activity is also subject to scientific evaluation of universities. It is often crucial in the context of obtaining grants or concluding international agreements. Furthermore, it adds to the prestige of Lodz University of Technology as a research university,’ Dr. Ewa Chojnacka points out.

Lodz University of Technology: innovative probiotics and nanocomposites

Among the patent applications filed by TUL scientists, those in the field of biotechnology are particularly numerous. They most often concern new strains of bacteria and yeasts, which are used in the development of probiotic, prebiotic and synbiotic preparations for humans and animals. Such preparations as alternatives to antibiotics are increasingly used for prophylactic and therapeutic purposes, not only in agriculture, but also in veterinary and human medicine. The inventions from TUL in this field are increasingly popular among producers of feed and safe organic food. 

Lodz University of Technology also applies for protection for inventions based on one of the most dynamically developing innovative technologies of nanocomposite production. These inventions are very attractive from a commercial point of view because of the wide range of recipients from the medical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, construction, telecommunications, and electronic industries. 

 Wrocław University of Science and Technology: patents for a life jacket and vitamin derivatives

The fourth place in the ranking belongs to Wrocław University of Science and Technology (WUST). Many inventions developed by WUST scientists have been appreciated at international and national invention fairs. Among them there is a system for monitoring the tip-over stability of a mobile machine, especially on a crawler chassis, designed by Prof. Piotr Dudziński and Dr. Andrzej Kosiara, cement repair mortar developed by Prof. Łukasz Sadowski and Jacek Szymanowski, M.Sc., new derivatives of vitamin PP with selective bactericidal effect developed by Prof. Joanna Feder-Kubis, Prof. Anna Witek-Krowiak, Prof. Anna Krasowska, and Ida Szmigel, M.Sc., as well as the industrial design ‘Pneumatic Life Jacket’ developed by Dr. Michał Pelczarski.

‘The high position in the 2019 ranking once again confirmed that Wrocław University of Science and Technology is a modern university that stimulates the development of its staff. It supports creators who carry out innovative projects that make it possible to change the world for the better in various fields. Inventions created at our university are often the result of work of interdisciplinary teams and cooperation with other Polish and international universities,’ says Ewa Szczepankiewicz from the Intellectual Property and Patent Information Department.

 AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow: a base of innovative solutions for the industry

The AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow (AGH UST) was another institution at the top of the list of Polish and foreign entities with the highest number of patents granted last year. ‘An example of an invention that received a patent is a portable device for detecting disease biomarkers in exhaled air,’ says Anna Żmuda-Muszyńska, AGH UST spokesperson. The authors of this solution are AGH UST professors: Prof. Artur Rydosz and Prof. Konstanty Marszałek of the Faculty of Computer Science, Electronics and Telecommunications. The device developed by them is used to diagnose various dysfunctions or conditions detected on the basis of the presence and concentration of characteristic organic compounds, the so-called biomarkers, in the exhaled air. For example, the presence of acetone is a diagnostic indication of diabetes. The non-invasiveness of the device created by AGH UST scientists, its originality and the ease of use by the patients themselves can be extremely helpful in the rapid diagnosis of diabetic diseases.

Another interesting and very practical solution is the air filtering ventilator. The author of the solution is Prof. Tomasz Owerko of the Faculty of Mining Surveying and Environmental Engineering. This patent, in turn, is widely used especially in complex ventilation solutions for residential buildings.

‘Solutions provided by AGH UST directly for the industry or directly for society are always a reason for satisfaction as well as evidence that we are one of the leaders in inventiveness and patenting. These are also the effects of the “innovation policy” pursued at AGH UST. Our presence on such lists is the result of the hard work of high-class specialists who carry out applicative research. We are very pleased that we continue to be a base of good and practical solutions for the economy or business,’ says the Rector of AGH University of Science and Technology, Prof. Jerzy Lis.

 Time for next patents

New patents for the scientific sector are on their way. Last year, universities together with research institutes and scientific units of the Polish Academy of Sciences submitted 1,851 inventions and utility models, i.e. 39% of the total number of applications.