MSU Board of Trustees accepts patent donations from GM, Delphi Technologies Inc.

Contact: Mary Woodbeck, (586) 947-3253; Kelly K. Sorice, (248) 813-2985; or Sue Nichols, University Relations, (517) 353-8942,

Apr 12, 2002

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State University Board of Trustees today accepted the donation of three patents that involve the application of windshield antenna technology previously owned jointly by General Motors and Delphi Technologies Inc.

"MSU was selected for the gift because of its strong history of research in automotive technology - especially in antenna research, which promises to become even more crucial as communication expectations and demands continue to expand in automobiles," said Alan I. Taub, executive director of science at the General Motors Research and Development Center in Warren. "MSU's research could significantly improve flat antennas currently in use and develop the next generation of antenna technology."

The patented technology relates to transparent film antennas for automotive vehicle windows. The technology lowers vehicle weight, wind resistance, wind noise and susceptibility to vandalism. It also permits integration of cellular phone and global positioning satellite applications with traditional radio reception.

The gift is two U.S. patents and one additional European Union patent providing corresponding protection in France, German and the United Kingdom. The patents could generate research funding and royalty revenue for MSU if the university successfully licenses the patents to companies that are in the business of manufacturing and marketing the patented products. The university will not receive any revenues until licenses are obtained.

The gift has been independently valued at $11 million. The cooperation of GM and Delphi Technologies Inc., by donating their entire interest in the patents, provides MSU with rights that extend to the year 2015.

MSU's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering conducts research on antenna technology and will seek to use the patents to further advance research and teaching.

"Delphi is pleased to contribute to Michigan State University's growing portfolio of technologies in the automotive and telecommunications field," said Andrew Brown Jr., Delphi director of engineering. "We look forward to continuing our relationship with this important research and development institution."

"The College of Engineering at MSU has a long-standing and deep relationship with the automotive industry, and we're proud that they think of us when they have charitable intent," said Dean Janie Fouke. "Given our widely known capabilities in materials research and electromagnetics research, it's particularly appropriate that patents for transparent film antennas find their home in centers where research and education are matched to that intellectual activity."

MSU spends hundreds of millions of dollars on research and holds hundreds of patents, many of which are licensed out each year. Among U.S. universities, MSU ranked in the top 10 nationally in fiscal year 2000 - the last year for which comparative figures are available - with royalties of more than $25.7 million.