Kimberly-Clark Gives UT Rights to Fabric

KNOXVILLE — An international manufacturer of consumer products has donated rights to one of its nonwoven elastomeric fabrics to the University of Tennessee for further research and development.

Kimberly-Clark Corp., through its wholly owned subsidiary, Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, has contributed the technology and rights to Demique (R) durable nonwoven fabric to the university.

“We’re extremely pleased to donate this technology to the University of Tennessee, where it can be developed and commercialized to its full potential,” said Cheryl Perkins, Kimberly-Clark’s vice president and senior technical officer. “UT is well-positioned to extend and develop Demique (R) in its research programs, as well as pursue its numerous commercial applications.”

The company made the donation because the Demique (R) technology falls outside Kimberly-Clark’s strategic business focus, Perkins said. The corporation is making such donations to universities where complementary expertise exists, she said.

“Kimberly-Clark’s generosity underscores the importance of research and development to the university,” UT President J. Wade Gilley said. “The reputation of our researchers in textiles and chemical engineering brought UT this gift.

“This can have long-term positive implications not only for UT but for the economy of Tennessee as we seek to make UT one of the nation’s top 25 universities.”

The gift includes seven patents, the Demique (R) trademark, an inventory of already manufactured fabric, and technical information necessary to let UT conduct further research and development in the pursuit of additional commercial possibilities.

The fabric is known technically as a polyetherester elastomeric nonwoven, a strong, stretchable fabric that can be used in home furnishings, automotive applications and limited-use clothing.

The UT Research Corporation, which handles UT patents and other intellectual properties, accepted the donation on behalf of UT. The university’s Textiles and Nonwovens Development Center and faculty from chemical engineering will research the fabric and develop additional uses for it.

“This donation is consistent with Kimberly-Clark’s corporate interests in strengthening its partnerships with UT, which is a core recruiting school for the company,” said Corrine Sukiennik, Kimberly-Clark’s director of global technology transfer.

Kimberly-Clark Corp. is a leading consumer products company. Its global tissue, personal-care and health-care brands include Huggies, Pull-Ups, Kotex, Depend, Kleenex, Scott, Kimberly-Clark, Safeskin, Tecnol, Kimwipes and WypAll. Other international brands include Andrex, Scottex, Page, Popee and Kimbies. Kimberly-Clark also is a major producer of premium business, correspondence and technical papers. The company has manufacturing operations in 40 countries and sells its products in more than 150 countries.