The University of Bordeaux confirms its place as leading university in the INPI patent applicant ranking

For the second consecutive year, the University of Bordeaux ranks above all other French universities in the INPI ranking of patent applicants. By actively supporting researchers working towards breakthrough innovations with a high potential for future value creation, the University of Bordeaux, along with its Aquitaine Science Transfert subsidiary, that the strategies put in place in 2014 are fueling an ambitious innovation policy.

  • 10/07/2020

© université de Bordeaux © université de Bordeaux

The National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) is the French office in charge of patents, trademarks and industrial design rights. In only a few years, the list of the main INPI patent applicants has become a national reference. The statistics and analyses it provides are widely used by economic stakeholders as indicators of a company or public institution’s innovation efforts, whatever its size. Published on June 26th 2020, this ranking establishes the University of Bordeaux as the 35th French applicant and the 1st French university in the ranking, ahead of Sorbonne University and the Claude-Bernard Lyon 1 University. PSA, Valeo, Safran and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) are the leading applicants.

The ranking shows that the University of Bordeaux has fully integrated industrial property into its innovation strategy. Protecting results by filing a patent is the first step in transferring these findings to the socio-economic world, and is now a familiar process for researchers at the University of Bordeaux, who are well aware of the importance of industrial property issues. On the ground, the transfer of research outcomes, in particular by the university's transfer subsidiary Aquitaine Science Transfert, is also bearing fruit.

"In order to be a major research university, in addition to supporting excellence in research, the university has a proactive policy of development and transfer. Whether with major French and international groups or with start-ups hatched in our laboratories, we build relationships with companies by collaborating on research and building intellectual property together," says Eric Papon,Vice-President for Innovation and industrial relations. "With 420 patent families, our portfolio reflects this dynamic, as more than a third of our patents are filed jointly with other companies."

Strong support for innovation

The university's transfer strategy is part of a fundamental trend driven by public policies. In line with State support measures for deep-tech start-ups (in particular via the Public Investment Bank) and with the arrangements provided in the laws on innovation and the multi-year programming law for research (LPPR), the university has created a “toolbox” to support innovation: a pre-maturation fund, upstream of the SATT Aquitaine Science Transfertmaturation fund; an offer to physically host start-ups and companies;  the implementation of a human resources system particularly favorable to lecturer-researchers wishing to set up their own company; a responsible policy of sharing intellectual property protection with industrial stakeholders; a structured offer of technological platforms that are open to private partnerships, and a new strategy for investing in laboratory spin-off ventures are the main measures to have been implemented since 2014. However, the detection of research results in laboratories and their subsequent protection through industrial property deeds remain the two most effective activities that SATT Aquitaine Science Transfert performs with great success for the University of Bordeaux.

"Filing a patent application on results does not prevent their publication, quite the contrary. You just have to do things in the right order. Having your results covered by a patent attracts the interest of private partners, by providing a guarantee that they are in safe hands if they invest with us. It doesn't block research prospects, and sometimes it even opens up new opportunities." says Eric Papon.