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Innovation Division of Research & Economic Development

Morgan State University Achieves Record High for Single Year Patents Awarded, Topping All HBCUs Nationwide

by Morgan State U
March 14, 2024

University’s Office of Technology Transfer Spurs Increase in Patent Applications, Netting 13 Patent Awards in 2023, While Advancing Research and Expanding Entrepreneurship Opportunities


Baltimore – Morgan State University (MSU) has set a record among all Historically Black College Universities (HBCUs) by obtaining the highest number of patent awards in a calendar year. In 2023, MSU secured 13 patents, surpassing the previous HBCU record of 11. This accomplishment results from the university’s rapid growth in innovation and technology programs. Morgan began pursuing technology patents only eight years ago, making this an even more remarkable achievement. The annual patent increase further bolsters Morgan’s efforts to become a more nationally recognized research university.

“It’s truly remarkable to witness the accumulative impact of Morgan’s research activity and technical development, resulting in the record number of patent awards we’ve received,” said Willie E. May, Ph.D., vice president of Research and Economic Development at Morgan. “Our commitment to prioritize research is compounded by our unbridled support for Morgan faculty and students to pursue patents for their innovations. We see this framework as a critical component to how universities significantly contribute to technological advancements and improve society.”

Collaborative research can generate inventive concepts and create complexity in ownership rights. The Division of Research and Economic Development (D-RED) supports and guides MSU faculty in their research efforts by managing grants and contracts that help fund faculty research activity. Additionally, the division is the first point of contact for companies interested in collaborating with MSU researchers. In 2018, the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) was established to help faculty, staff, and students with intellectual property-related issues that may arise from their academic research or creative pursuits. As part of D-RED, the OTT assists with patent applications, trademarks and copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property (IP).

Overall, Morgan has been issued 32 U.S. Utility Patents and is currently on a path to be awarded an average of at least one new patent per month throughout 2024. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted the university’s first patent in 2016, followed by a second one in 2018. By the end of 2023, Morgan elevated to the fifth-highest cumulative total of U.S. Utility Patents awarded to an HBCU. 

Patents Chart

In higher education, universities often transfer technology from research innovations discovered by their faculty, staff, and students to businesses and industries. This process helps in the development of products and services for public use. OTT oversees identifying potential patentable subject matter generated from Morgan’s research efforts, which is a multi-year process. To determine the viability and exclusivity of the innovation, the university partners with an outside IP firm to prepare and file U.S. patent applications. An application must be filed with the USPTO to secure a patent, followed by a complex review and examination process.

“Reaching an all-time high in the number of U.S. patents issued to an HBCU in a single year is certainly a testament to the innovative spirit at Morgan,” said Wayne Swann, director of the D-RED Office of Technology Transfer. “It is, however, a mere slice of the array of intellectual outputs and outcomes generated from research conducted by faculty, staff and students at Morgan. For the past five years, we have received an average of a new Intellectual property disclosure every 12 days.”

Morgan has more than 35 U.S. Utility patents currently pending at the USPTO, and is filing new patent applications monthly. Under Wayne Swann’s direction, OTT has successfully navigated the complex patent process in higher education. Swann emphasizes, “Of Morgan’s 35 pending patents, three applications have recently been allowed. As we file new U.S. patent applications every month, I certainly expect our rate of patent awards to continue for some time.”

The Office of Technology Transfer supports D-RED’s mission to create an innovative research ecosystem among faculty, students, and the surrounding community by implementing best practices commonly used in U.S. research universities. One of the 2023 patents that emerged from the work of Morgan professors is the Method and System for Intrusion Detection. This invention relates to monitoring data network traffic to identify and respond to unauthorized intrusions into a data network. The inventors of this invention are Wondimu Κ. Zegeye, D.Eng., Richard A. Dean, Ph.D., and Farzad Moazzami, Ph.D., of the Clarence M. Mitchell School of Engineering (SOE).

Another of the 13 patents issued to Morgan inventors in 2023 significantly impacts the urban community, specifically public housing. The innovative computer-based tool, “System and Method for Public Housing Evaluation,” creates an adaptive and dynamic index to assess the public housing environment. It provides insight into the possibility of individuals being able to live outside of public housing and improving the current state and quality of life inside public housing complexes. This invention was created by Jacqueline Holland, Ph.D., an associate professor and chair of the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences in the School of Education and Urban Studies (SEUS).  

To view a comprehensive list of Morgan State's innovative research-based patent projects, visit the issued patents page.

About Morgan

Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified high research (R2) institution offering more than 150 certificate and academic programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, and the only university to have its entire campus designated as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information about Morgan State University, visit


Media Contacts:

Cheryl Stewart or Larry Jones, for Morgan State University PR