Patent Problem: Numbers Take a Big Drop

We’ve pondered in the past, both in this space and in BizVoice magazine, about what economic indicators people pay the most attention to. The same argument can apply to the innovation economy — which numbers and statistics are most important?

Tough call. One measure taking a rather significant drop through the middle portion of this decade is the number of patents produced per employee in each state. Two alphabetical groups provide the data: USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) compiles the numbers and SSTI (State Science & Technology Institute) puts them in comparative form.

The results:

  • A total patent drop of over 10% between 2003 and 2007, with 43 states experiencing declines
  • Indiana’s performance over that period was even lower, a 19.9% decline, ranking it 35th over the five years. Overall, Indiana remained 25th in 2007, its same relative ranking as 2003
  • At the low end of patents per employees are Alaska, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Arkansas and Louisiana
  • Idaho led the nation with 210 patents per 100,000 employees. Other in the top five (with a strong Western flavor) were Vermont, California, Washington and Oregon

An SSTI chart details the numbers.