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Inside Iowa State
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April 4, 2003

License to chill

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by Debra Gibson
Next time you slurp a cone from Blue Sky Creamery, dish up some kudos for ISU.

It was department of chemical engineering research that spurred the development of novel equipment using liquid nitrogen to freeze ice cream. Nitro Ice Cream, LLC, of Ames paid license fees to the Iowa State University Research Foundation (ISURF) for use of the patented technology, resulting in wildly popular "homemade" ice creams, sorbets and frozen yogurts now sold through Blue Sky Creamery in Ankeny and at state fairs throughout the Midwest.

The license "plate" at ISU is a full one. Other products borne from licensed university technologies include corn meal gluten lawn herbicide; an instrument using non-destructive evaluation technologies to detect flaws, defects and damage in composite structures (think airplanes); software that allows pork producers to measure the potential odor impact of a new swine facility before it's built; a computer program that aids in gene identification in plants; and a scanning device that uses fluorescence imaging to identify contamination on meat carcasses, used mostly in meat packing and processing plants.

In FY02, nearly $12 million in product sales resulted from the use of ISURF-licensed technologies by Iowa companies. Companies pay licensing fees and royalties to ISURF for intellectual property they can adapt to their projects, ideally culminating in the creation of marketable products and jobs, and in a boost to the economy. Nearly 300 license and option agreements were signed with ISURF in FY02, with 37 of those being picked up for the first time. In the most recent Association of University Technology Managers national licensing survey for FY00, Iowa State ranked second among universities in licenses and options executed on its intellectual properties.

Iowa State is good for business.

... Becoming the Best
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Published by: University Relations,
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