Eigencluster: The Eigencluster patent

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Informations from Alan Gordon, MIT Technology Licence Office (webpage)

Current status

MIT owns the IP of Eigencluster. They have not yet filed for a patent. The EigenCluster algorithm has been disclosed (=published) March 2005 which means that it cannot be patented anywhere outside the US. Only the US allows applying for a patent up to one year after the results have been published. Therefore, MIT has a time-frame until March 2006 to file an application. So far there is no final decision. Alan wants to contact Prof. Vempala end of November to discuss possible markets for this algorithm.

Future scenarios

If no company expresses interest or if Vempala does not come up with good ideas on how to market the algorithm, MIT will not file a patent. Since the work was funded by NSF, the right to patent does NOT go back to the faculty (as it would be if it were non-funded work) but goes to the government. MIT has no record on what the government is doing with it but presumably it won't be patented.


EigenCluster would thus have to express interest in the algorithm in order to make MIT file a patent. Typical licencing contract with MIT have a one-time fee (10-100k, typically on the lower end for start-ups) and then a one-digit percentage of the revenue (5% is a typical number). This would be an exclusive license. The license term is for the term of the patent.

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