LSU AgCenter intellectual property program champions innovative solutions on World IP Day

(04/23/24) BATON ROUGE, La. — Before harvested soybeans are sold, they must be graded for quality. These inspections can be inconsistent. LSU AgCenter engineer Kevin Hoffseth is working on methods to use cameras and computers to generate a more accurate analysis of soybeans.

This is one example of the innovation and creativity that drives the LSU AgCenter intellectual property program. Hoffseth saw a problem and is working toward inventing a solution. The intellectual property program will protect his invention.

“Safeguarding these innovations is at the core of what we do,” said Wade Baumgartner, LSU AgCenter associate vice president and director of the Office of Sponsored Programs and Intellectual Property. “We navigate through the intricacies of patenting, trademark and copyright processes, diligently protecting the intellectual property that emerges from our university.”

April 26 is World Intellectual Property Day, and while many intellectual property offices work in the background, they serve a vital role in research and development. The LSU AgCenter program connects research with industry partners and assists with the protection process, licensing procedures and engaging with industry for further research opportunities.

“We are passionate about fueling innovation and bridging the gap between university research and industry partners,” Baumgartner said. “Working closely with our talented faculty, we strive to facilitate discussions about their technology and the developments they are achieving.”

The AgCenter currently has 74 active license agreements, and in 2023, it filed 15 patent applications and generated more than $3 million in license income.

Some of the work within intellectual property at the AgCenter focuses on crop varieties. In its history, the AgCenter has licensed 100 sugarcane varieties, 63 rice varieties and 30 sweet potato varieties.

The office also works on innovations that aim to make processes easier or more efficient — like Hoffseth’s soybean quality assessment machine and eyedrops developed by scientists Cristina Sabliov and Carlos Astete in the AgCenter Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering that would offer a noninvasive treatment for cataracts.

This year, the office has worked to protect a coating for fire-retardant wood and wood composite developed by Qinglin Wu, a researcher in the AgCenter School of Renewable Natural Resources. Wu also holds a patent on TigerBullets, a type of plastic-and-wood composite that prevents lost circulation in oil-drilling wells. TigerBullets is manufactured in Louisiana and has sold more than 30 million pounds worldwide to major oil companies.

“Our ultimate goal is to foster meaningful engagement between industry and our faculty, bridging the gap and driving impactful research at the AgCenter,” Baumgartner said. “We are committed to delivering work products with efficiency, understanding that when a company seeks to license a technology or solve a problem through research on our campus, time is of the essence.”

Harvested soybeans fall into a truck. These soybeans would go on to be graded for quality. A quality grading machine is one example of innovations being protected by the LSU AgCenter Office of Sponsored Programs and Intellectual Property. LSU AgCenter file photo

4/23/2024 1:25:10 PM
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