Robust patent activity is regarded as an economic boon for any metro area - a survey of national patent activity shows three Northeastern metro areas have been identified as places in the country most likely to be "inventive" - The survey entitled “Patenting Prosperity: Invention and Economic Performance in the United States and its Metropolitan Areas” tracks U.S. patent activity from 1980-to-2012: the Brookings Institution finds that some of the most inventive metropolitan areas in the nation include Burlington, Vermont, New York's "North Country" and the cities of Albany and Poughkeepsie.
Jonathan Rothwell is lead author of the 49 page report - he says the patenting rate is nearing historic heights. Nationally, the two most active regions for patenting activity are Silicon Valley and the Boston to Washington corridor.
Burlington, with an IBM chip plant and the University of Vermont on its turf, ranks near the top of the list, coming in second behind San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California, followed by Rochester, Minnesota, Corvallis, Oregon and Boulder, Colorado. At number 6, the Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown area, which is home to an IBM computer chip factory, and a bit lower at #18, Albany-Schenectady-Troy, which Rothewell notes is home to GE's global research headquarters and the Nano-College.
Report co-author Deborah Strumsky explains why it matters that one place might generate more patents than another. Strumsky notes that the "patent jewel" in New York State’s crown is Rochester, which is home to 4.1% of the state population but 13% of the patenting output.
Jonathan Rothwell adds patents serve as economic indicators. The takeaway: of about 370 metropolitan statistical areas in the United States - 20 of them — where 34 percent of the US population lives — generate 63 percent of the nation’s patents.
Top 20 Metro Areas for Patent Activity (per capita):
1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
2. Burlington-South Burlington, VT
3. Rochester, MN
4. Corvallis, OR
5. Boulder, CO
6. Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY
7. Ann Arbor, MI
8. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA
9. Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX
10. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA
11. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
12. Raleigh-Cary, NC
13. Rochester, NY
14. Durham-Chapel Hill, NC
15. Trenton-Ewing, NJ
16. Sheboygan, WI
17. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA
18. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY
19. Ithaca, NY
20. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wisc.
(Data supplied by Brookings Institution)