PROVO BYU's technology transfer office works with professors to bring inventions to market, and the deals can be lucrative for both the university and the professors.
Last fall, BYU announced it had licensed a professor's carbonated yogurt product to General Mills, maker of the popular brand Go-Gurt. The company used professor Lynn Ogden's sparkling yogurt to create a new brand of fizzy Go-Gurt it sells under the name Fizzix.
Fizzix has sold more than 1 million cases in about nine months, said Mike Alder, director of BYU's technology transfer office.
BYU gets 55 percent of the royalties, and Ogden gets 45 percent.
Professor Milt Lee's deal for the Guardion-7 portable chemical detector is different because he helped launch Torion Technologies as a startup company to make and sell the machine and he is a part-owner.
BYU agreed to take a small ownership in Torion, too, and cut its normal requirement for royalties in half.
Torion also agreed to reimburse BYU for all the costs of Lee's 10 patents, which was more than $200,000.
BYU's technology transfer office is an example to other universities and one of the foremost in the country, Lee said. It's an important part of a professor being able to go beyond the lab and spin technology out into the marketplace.
Lee and Torion president Douglas Later believe the Guardion-7 and similar products will appeal to Homeland Security, airports, police agencies, arson investigators, pharmaceutical companies and others.