US patent data analysis ranks Delaware No. 1 in innovation

US patent data analysis ranks Delaware No. 1 in innovation


Delaware makes a lot of lists, sometimes for positive things, sometimes for negative things and sometimes because data can be cruel. Numbers don’t always reflect reality, as Delawareans, a smart bunch, are well aware.

Still, it’s cool to be top dog in something like innovation, even though we have a built-in advantage.

Capital Ideas, the financial publication of Capital Group, put together a list of “The 5 Most Innovative States in America,” with a focus on patents (“a marker of inventiveness”).

The methodology was this:

Using data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Census Bureau, we’ve taken the total number of utility patents granted in each state from 2006-2015 and divided it by the state’s estimated 2016 population to determine what we’re calling the per capita “innovation rate” for every state.

By that formula, Delaware is far and away the most innovative state in the nation, at 20 utility patents per 1,000 people.

In reality, it has more to do with our business-friendly laws and high number of companies from outside of the state incorporating here, a factor the Capital Ideas team notes:

When you consider that each year roughly 90% of the patents granted go to private corporations, many of whom choose to file applications based on where they are incorporated, it seems likely Delaware will continue to wield an outsize advantage at the patent office.

On the other hand, other states in the Top 5 have advantages too, from Washington, D.C.’s concentration of federal government agencies to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory.

Not too shabby, Delaware. Not too shabby.

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