Carnegie Mellon University
September 19, 2011

News Backgrounder: Carnegie Mellon Applauds New US Patent Reform Act; Greenlighting Startups Initiative To Generate New Companies, Programs

Contact: Ken Walters / 412-268-1151 /
Greenlighting LogoPITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University applauds President Obama and Congress for passing the Patent Reform Act, legislation that will be vital to spurring innovation and competitiveness in the 21st century. The legislation simplifies the patent application process and harmonizes the U.S. patent system with that of our major trading partners, allowing U.S. inventors at universities to compete more effectively in the global marketplace.

This is especially important for CMU, which has created an entrepreneurial culture for faculty and students through its Greenlighting Startups initiative. Announced in early June, Greenlighting Startups is a portfolio of five new and existing campus incubators designed to further speed the organic growth of company creation at CMU. In the past 15 years alone, CMU faculty and students have helped to create more than 300 companies and 9,000 jobs.

CMU continues to create an environment in which faculty and students can explore the next big idea and turn it into reality. Some recent entrepreneurial developments at the university include:

Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund

Carnegie Mellon's Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund was created through a substantial gift by CMU alumnus and Flip Video Camera founder Jonathan Kaplan and his wife, Marci Glazer. The fund will provide early-stage business financing to alumni who have graduated from CMU within the past five years.

Advanced Manufacturing Partnership

CMU's National Robotics Engineering Center served as the venue for President Obama's announcement launching the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), a national effort bringing together industry, universities and government to invest in emerging technologies, create sustainable new businesses and enhance U.S. competitiveness. Carnegie Mellon is a member of the partnership.

Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship Program

Carnegie Mellon's Silicon Valley campus launched an accelerated entrepreneurship program designed to capitalize on the spread of Internet- and tech-based innovations into the broader economy.

CMU Startups Garner Attention Through New Funding and Acquisition

CMU startups Aquion Energy and Dynamics have each recently received more than $30 million in venture capital funding for their businesses, while CMU startup PittPatt was recently acquired by Google. Plextronics, founded by CMU Vice President of Research Rick McCullough, recently received $15 million in funding.