Notre Dame Law School clinic secures disease detection patent

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Detecting cancers and cardiovascular diseases now may be a bit easier thanks to a new patent secured by the Notre Dame Law School’s Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic.

The portable invention may help doctors detect such serious diseases faster and more economically by using biomarkers.

Jodi Clifford, director of the clinic, said her second- and third-year law students generally work with individual inventors and new startups on a pro bono basis. However, this case was different as it was offered to her by the Notre Dame Office of Technology Transfer, now known as the Commercialization Engine Team, which is part of the university’s Innovation, De-Risking and Enterprise Acceleration Center, or IDEA Center.

“We’ve had a relationship with them for a while,” said Clifford. “This was one of our first really nice wins for them. That’s why I was pleased about it.”

Hsueh-Chia Chang, the Bayer Professor of Engineering and director of the Center for Microfluidics and Medical Diagnostics, is credited with the invention along with researchers Shoupeng Liu, Satyajyoti Senapati, Yunshan Wang and Yu Yan. Chang said he has around 10 patents, with several more pending, all of which belong to the university.

“I work with whichever lawyer Notre Dame (Office of General Counsel) hires … to draw up the patents,” said Chang.

Nick Swisher, director of marketing and communications for the IDEA Center, said the university would continue to use outside law firms for most of the dozens of faculty patent cases per year. However, he said they felt comfortable handing this project over to Clifford and her students.

“There will be complicated ones we give over to the clinic, but it’s being overseen properly, and the students work on this as one invention rather than 12 or 13,” said Swisher.

The patent was awarded Jan. 2, according to a Jan. 15 press release. •

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