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Technology & Inventions

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

Technology Licensing

The Office of Technology Licensing promotes the transfer of Stanford technology for society’s use and benefit while generating income to support research and education. In September 2019–August 2020 Stanford received $114 million in gross royalty revenue from 847 technologies. 84 of the inventions generated $100,000 or more in royalties. Ten inventions generated $1 million or more. The Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) evaluated 594 new invention disclosures and concluded 121 new licenses/options. 56 of the licenses were nonexclusive, 35 were exclusive and 30 were option agreements. 42 of the 121 agreements were with Stanford start-ups and 23 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.
  • Artificial facet joint: This licensed technology was further developed into the first and only FDA approved, minimally invasive, indirect decompression device to treat lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS).
  • CoreNLP: Christopher Manning and his lab has developed a set of natural language analysis tools for any application requiring human language technology or natural language processing (NLP) tools necessary to manage human language text and it has broad applications in the fields of big data and artificial intelligence (AI).
  • Data analytics: Visualization software created 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 as Sergey Brin and Larry Page developed the page-rank algorithm while 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.
  • Tuberculosis test: Gary Schoolnik and his colleagues developed a diagnostic test for tuberculosis that can distinguish between patients who have been vaccinated and those who have the disease.
  • 293T cell line: Michele Calos and her team have developed a human 293T cell line very commonly used in the biotech/pharma industry for transfection, recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) protein expression, DNA replication, or retroviral vector production. The cell line efficiently produces vectors that are utilized for gene and cell therapy.


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, IDEO, Netflix, and Tesla. In the
area of social innovation, the Stanford community has created thousands of 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
2011Three Stanford classes are offered openly on the internet and completed by 60,000+ students, jumpstarting the online learning movement
2013Stanford engineers build computer using carbon nanotubes