California leads the nation in innovation, or does it?

On January 10, 2012 IFI CLAIMS Patent Services released its ranking of top global companies based on US utility patents in 2011.

Our IFI analysts work closely with our customers providing them with access to high quality patent data that allows them to develop deep insights into corporate patent portfolios, technology landscapes, and competitive intelligence. While preparing our 2011 Patent Intelligence and Technology Report, we took a closer look at the 2011 US patent grants and in particular the location of the inventors named on these documents. Despite the obvious surge of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese companies in the Top 50 assignees, 50% of US patents in 2011 named US inventors down only 4% when compared with 2001. Patents with Japanese inventors are the second largest group accounting for 20% of US patents in 2011 which is basically the same as 2001. Germany comes in third although its inventor count dropped from 9% in 2001 to 6% in 2011. Chinese inventors appear in less than 2% of 2011, but this presence has grown by more than 1000% when compared with 2001.

Diving deeper into the US inventor information we can rank the States based on inventor data. In this case a patent is credited to a state if at least one of the patent’s inventors resides in the state.  The top 10 states are shown in Figure 1.  A complete list is available on the IFI CLAIMS web site. Click here for the complete US State Ranking

2011 US Utility Patent Grants
  California   32,715
  Texas   9,407
  New York   9,263
  Massachusetts   7,106
  Washington   5,737
  New Jersey   5,583
  Illinois   4,933
  Pennsylvania   4,746
  Michigan   4,644
  Minnesota   4,609

Figure 1.  Top US States ranked by number of US Utility Patents Granted in 2011, as computed by IFI CLAIMS Patent Services.

California is the clear leader with respect to the overall volume of patents accounting for 15% of the total number of US utility patents granted in 2011. 

However when you factor in population, we find Vermont at the top of list along with Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Figure 2 shows a graph of the top 10 states by number of utility patents granted, and the number of patents granted per 100,000 residents.

Figure 2. Top States with inventors cited on 2011 US granted patents. Source: IFI CLAIMS Patent Services

Figure 2. Top States with inventors cited on 2011 US granted patents. Source: IFI CLAIMS Patent Services

So what exactly is going on in Vermont that accounts for its performance? First we looked at the assignees and found IBM accounting for most of the patent activity. IBM has a large facility in Burlington that designs and produces semiconductors.

Finally we took the US patents citing Vermont inventors, and imported the fulltext into our KMX Patent Analytics solution. We focused the analysis on patent claims, and KMX produced the following visualization highlighting the IBM patents in red. There is a clear delineation between patents that deal with fabrication of semiconductors and patents that deal with control systems or software.

KMX would allow us to continue drilling deeper into the patent data refining our areas of interest and further segmenting the data using personalizes classification, tagging, etc. Adding further historical data would allow us to explore multi-year trends.

Whether we are providing customers with direct access to our CLAIMS Global Patent Database via our CLAIMS Direct patent web service or API, we are delivering custom patent data sets, or we are providing high value custom patent analysis, our goal is to continue providing the best and most convenient patent data available. Our solutions can scale to support cloud-based analysis of the complete global patent corpus – a solution that is as accessible to the individual analyst or programmer as it is to the enterprise.

Contact us. We would be delighted to introduce you our products and services and to explore how you can take advantage of modern patent analytics, text mining, and data visualization.