Technology & Inventions

Technology & Inventions

Makers Faire event showcasing innovative projects and the creativity behind them.

Technology Licensing

In Sep 2018–August 2019 Stanford received $49.3 million in gross royalty revenue from 875 technologies. 49 of the inventions generated $100,000 or more in royalties. Five inventions generated $1 million or more. The Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) evaluated 564 new invention disclosures and concluded 122 new licenses/options. 54 of the licenses were nonexclusive, 37 were exclusive and 26 were option agreements. 24 of the 122 agreements were with Stanford start-ups and 30 of them involved equity.

Among the Inventions Licensed by OTL:

  • Antibody therapies: In the 1980s, Leonard Herzenberg, Vernon Oi and Sherie Morrison invented a technique for producing functional antibodies, enabling treatments for such conditions as autoimmune diseases and cancer.
  • Data analytics: Visutalization software created in 2001 in the laboratory of Patrick Hanrahan helps anyone working with large amounts of data to quickly analyze, visualize and share information.
  • Digital music: John Chowning developed FM sound synthesis for digitally generating sounds in the late 1960s, leading to the music synthesizer.
  • DSL: In the 1980s, John Cioffi and his students discovered how to use traditional phone lines for high-speed data transmission, resulting in patents used in asymmetric digital subscriber lines.
  • Google: The world’s most popular search engine got its start at Stanford in 1996 when Sergey Brin and Larry Page developed the page-rank algorithm while computer science graduate students.
  • Recombinant DNA: This ubiquitous tool for molecular biology was developed in 1973 by Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer to enable scientists to perform genetic engineering by combining pieces of DNA from different organisms, laying the groundwork for the biotechnology industry.
  • Tuberculosis test: Gary Schoolnik and colleagues developed a diagnostic test for tuberculosis that can distinguish between patients who have been vaccinated and those who actually have the disease.


Stanford alumni and faculty have created more than 39,900 companies since the 1930s. Frederick Terman, provost from 1955 to 1965, is called the “academic architect” of the high- technology region known as Silicon Valley.

Stanford graduates have founded, built or led thousands of businesses, including some of the world’s most recognized companies – Google, Nike, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Charles Schwab, Yahoo!, Gap, VMware and Netflix. The Stanford community also has created many non-profit organizations over the decades, including such well-known organizations as Kiva, the Special Olympics and Acumen Fund.

Notable Dates in Computing

1953High-speed electronic calculator installed on campus
1956First computer installed
1957First faculty member specializing in computers hired
1965Computer Science Department founded
1968Computer mouse, hypertext linking debuted at Stanford
1987First residential computing program established at Stanford
1988Stanford’s network is one of the first to connect to the Internet
1991SLAC creates the first U.S. website
2005Stanford is the first university to launch a public site on iTunes U
2013Stanford engineers build computer using carbon nanotubes

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