Florida doesn’t make list of top five ‘patent clusters,’ but that might be okay

The Brookings Institution released an interesting study the other week looking at which metropolitan areas in the U.S. generated the most patent applications.

No Florida city made the top five list, but for reasons we will discuss momentarily, that may not mean quite as much as you might think.

The study found that 64 percent of all patents were generated by the population of 20 U.S. cities. Together, those cities represented about 34 percent of the country’s population. These cities are called “patent clusters” because they contain such a disproportionately high number of patent-seeking people and entities.

The top five cities for patent applications were as follows:

  • Santa Clara – Sunnyvale -San Jose, California
  • Burlington – South Burlington, Vermont
  • Rochester, Minnesota
  • Corvallis, Oregon
  • Boulder, Colorado

The three California cities that topped the list are more commonly known as Silicon Valley, the area made famous by tech giants like Java, Facebook, Oracle and Amazon. Given how vigorously technology companies seek patents, it should not surprise anyone too much that this region came out on top.

The other four cities all have universities or big presences of companies that are among the most active patent-seekers.

As we said, you won’t find a Florida city in that top-five list. That is not necessarily a concern, though, because this study only looked at patents. Thus, the copyright a copywriter in Miami sought for a witty and lucrative ad campaign, or Disney’s latest trademarks it procured in association with its most recent blockbuster, would not be reflected in this study.

Material that would be trademarked or copyrighted, rather than patented, is certainly valuable, too, in both an economic and a philosophical sense.

Source: The New York Times, “Patent Producers Clustered in Only a Few Cities,” Steve Lohr, Feb. 1, 2013