Lehigh University
Lehigh University


OTT receives grant from Wall Street West

Chris Haran, co-chair of Wall Street West's human capital committee, presents a check to OTT's Yatin Karpe (center) and Vito Gallo (right), assistant vice president for state relations at Lehigh.

In a partnership with the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), Lehigh University’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) has received a one-year grant of $250,000 from Wall Street West to create an intellectual property management model.

The project, which is being matched by resources from Lehigh, will seek to boost the economy of the Lehigh Valley and eastern Pennsylvania by promoting and nurturing a “culture of innovation and entrepreneurship” in South Bethlehem.

OTT and LVEDC will use the grant to identify, protect and commercialize inventions that have applications in information technology, finance and other areas.

Yatin Karpe, associate director of OTT, says the specific goals of the project are to identify suitable intellectual property (IP), utilize appropriate patenting strategies for protecting IP and develop relevant commercialization pathways (licensing and start-up) for taking IP to marketplace.

OTT and LVEDC are also proposing to hire and train at least two full-time graduate research assistants and two undergraduate research assistants.

Beneficiaries of the project include member companies of the Southside Bethlehem Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ). Pennsylvania’s 29 KIZ zones work with schools, businesses, banks and state agencies to promote economic growth and retain jobs. The Southside Bethlehem KIZ is credited with creating 158 jobs since its formation in 2004. During that time, KIZ companies have filed 57 patents and been awarded 44.

As part of the new project, OTT and LVEDC will award grants to help Lehigh researchers protect and commercialize their discoveries. The two groups will also sponsor workshops and seminars on the protection and commercialization of intellectual property.

Karpe says the project “will help promote an understanding and awareness of IP among innovators in South Bethlehem, and will also inculcate an entrepreneurial culture that benefits the progress of the various KIZ entities. This will help enhance the economic development of the region.”

Lehigh’s OTT, also established in 2004, helps Lehigh researchers protect and commercialize their inventions and innovations. In the past four years, Lehigh inventors have disclosed more than 70 new inventions, and OTT has filed patent applications on more than half that number. Eight patents have been issued to university researchers, and five startup companies have been formed based on Lehigh inventions.

Wall Street West, which was formed in 2006, is a partnership of two dozen economic development agencies and technology investment groups, all based in 10 counties in northeast Pennsylvania. Wall Street West’s goal is to encourage New York City-based companies to establish back-up operations in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Wall Street West was established with a $15-million WIRED grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The WIRED (Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development) initiative encourages regional collaboration among public and private entities to develop a skilled workforce and attract economic development and jobs.

--Kurt Pfitzer


Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2008

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