Silicon Valley, New York Metro Area Rank Tops for Patents: Brookings

By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2013-02-11 Print this article Print
San Jose

San Jose

The capital of Silicon Valley topped the list with a five-year average of 9,237 patents per year, led by consumer technology giant Apple with 726 patents in 2011.


As technologies have become more complex, the importance of formal training in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields has increased. Consequently, metropolitan areas with a high share of STEM-educated workers—such as Corvallis, Ore.; Boulder, Colo.; San Francisco; and Ann Arbor, Mich.—develop patents at very high rates, according to "Patenting Prosperity: Invention and Economic Performance in the United States and its Metropolitan Areas," a Brookings Institution report detailing patenting trends on a regional level from 1980 to 2012. The report concluded that patents help drive regional innovation and economic growth, finding Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per worker (a measure of productivity) was $16,000 higher in metropolitan areas that developed more patents from 2007 to 2011. High-patenting metropolitan areas also launch more publicly traded tech companies and generate more value from initial public offerings. The study found that a low-patenting metro area would add $4,300 per worker to its economy each decade if it became a high-patenting metro area.


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