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New Stanford trademark program started

STANFORD -- In the next few years consumers may begin seeing the Sondius(tm) logo and name in music and electronics stores. They are part of an unusual trademark licensing program that has been launched by Stanford's Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) to augment the licensing of university patents.

Initially, the trademark will be licensed for use with a variety of sound synthesis technologies developed at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), but will eventually include technologies from other departments.

The program, designed and administered by OTL senior associate Joe Koepnick, is modeled after the highly effective strategy used by Dolby Laboratories to license its widely used stereo noise-reduction technology. According to OTL, Dolby brings in approximately $15 million annually from its trademark licensing.

"The value of a trademark is that it grows in value as it becomes well known and associated with quality products. That is not always the case with a patent," Koepnick says.

The first application of the trademark will be on electronic synthesizers that employ the "waveguide synthesis" system developed by CCRMA associate professor Julius O. Smith III. The musical synthesis method that he invented is the successor of the earlier "FM synthesis" approach developed by CCRMA director John Chowning. FM synthesis became the standard method for generating musical sounds electronically and brought in more than $20 million in royalties before the patent expired last April.

The name Sondius was created by Lexicon Naming in Berkeley and the logo was designed by Signum Visual Concepts in San Francisco.



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