The number of patents issued to Connecticut residents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been climbing steadily, from 1,384 in 2007 to 2,168 in 2013, the most recent year available. That places Connecticut at #8 in the nation, according to the state Department of Economic and Community Development.
The state is not resting on its laurels.
A number of federal and state agencies, led by the Office of Secretary of the State, are collaborating in offering a day-long seminar, “Meet the Experts: Patent and Innovations,” on February 7 in Hartford, walking participants through the ins and outs of the patent process.
Officials say that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and partners “will offer a comprehensive seminar that deals exclusively with various types of intellectual property, as well as safe-guarding methods to protect your products. This seminar will also deliver valuable information such as patent processing and global intellectual property protection. Having an understanding on how to safeguard your intellectual property will allow your firm to freely innovate, grow, and prosper.”
A 2013 report by the Brookings Institution found that most U.S. patents—63 percent—are developed by people living in just 20 metro areas, which are home to 34 percent of the U.S. population. Reflecting the advantages of large metropolitan economies, 92 percent of U.S. patents are concentrated in just 100 metro areas, with 59 percent of the population.
The report also indicated that “inventions, embodied in patents, are a major driver of long-term regional economic performance, especially if the patents are of higher quality. In recent decades, patenting is associated with higher productivity growth, lower unemployment rates, and the creation of more publicly-traded companies.”
Nationwide, the 10 most inventive years in U.S. history, measured by patents per capita, are 1916, 1915, 1885, 1932, 2010, 2011, 1931, 1883, 1890, and 1917, according to the Brookings study. Two of these years came just after the Great Recession; the others were in the midst of the Industrial Revolution and post-Civil War America.
The nation’s top 10 states, according to Business Insider, are Idaho, Vermont, Massachusetts, California, Washington, Minnesota, Oregon, Connecticut, Delaware and Colorado, based on 2012 data. A similar list compiled by CNN Money that year placed Connecticut at #9. For patents applied for from 2007 to 2011, the metro areas with the highest number per capita are San Jose; Burlington, VT; Rochester, MN; Corvallis, OR; and Boulder, CO, the Brookings review found.
Two centuries ago, in 1809, a Connecticut resident received the first US patent issued to a woman, but it would not be until after 1840 that women’s patents made their mark in the United States Patent Office. Between 1790 and 1930, Connecticut residents were issued the most patents in the US per capita, according to ConnecticutHistory.org
The Feb. 7 program will include sessions on intellectual property, what to expect after filing requirements for a provisional patent, international patent protection and the value of branding inventions with a trademark. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and other elected officials are expected as well.
Sponsoring agencies include the U.S. Commercial Service, Connecticut District Export Council, University of Connecticut, Department of Economic and Community Development, and Office of Secretary of the State. It is being held at the Hartford Public Library. Registration is available at https://emenuapps.ita.doc.gov/ePublic/event/editWebReg.do?SmartCode=5Q2D