In 2012, the LSU AgCenter Office of Intellectual Property celebrates its 25th anniversary. During that time it has become the leader in the commercialization of intellectual property within higher education in Louisiana. “Our job is to connect our researchers with companies interested in the technologies that are being developed here at the AgCenter,” said Wade Baumgartner, director of the Office of Intellectual Property. Baumgartner’s office handles the licensing of a number of different agreements that range from seed development to anticancer pharmaceuticals. Since 2000, 15 new companies have started based on licensing technology from the AgCenter. Baumgartner explains the royalties from these companies and from other licensing agreements are distributed among the LSU System, the inventors and the AgCenter, where funds are funneled back into more research. Royalties are distributed as follows: 40 percent to inventors, 15 percent to the inventor’s department or research station, 10 percent to the LSU System Office, 25 percent to the vice chancellor for research and 10 percent to the chancellor’s office. Royalties from these companies and from other licensing agreements have generated more than $60 million since 1999. The most lucrative of these licensing agreements has been with the international chemical company BASF for a herbicideresistant line of rice varieties known as Clearfield, which has generated more than $50 million. One of the most recent products to go public is EX5, which is a sport’s drink produced by H&B Beverages LLC of Covington, La. The drink has three times as many electrolytes as its leading competition, such as Gatorade and Powerade. The “5” refers to the drink’s five benefits – quicker recovery, less sodium, lower calories, more electrolytes and less sugar, said the inventor, Brian Brothers. Some other products that have gained attention in recent years are provided through Delta Land Services, which uses a mat system to help in marsh remediation and coastal restoration by catching sediment and building up the marsh areas that are continually being lost. Other technologies have led to new crop varieties. In 2002, the development of Clearfield rice presented farmers with a variety that could be grown to withstand the use of herbicides that would kill the rice-like weed known as “red rice.” This would not have happened without a collaborative partnership with BASF. Clearfield rice now accounts for about 60 percent of the rice grown in the southeastern United States.
Startup companies and licensees
Johnny Morgan is a communications specialist with LSU AgCenter Communications.(This article was published in the fall 2012 issue of Louisiana Agriculture magazine.)
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