Report: Providence metro ranks 43rd in U.S. for patent innovation

WHEN COMPARED TO the country's largest 358 metropolitan areas, the Providence metro area ranked No. 43 for the number of patents awarded annually.
Posted 2/8/13

WASHINGTON – The average number of patents issued yearly from 2007 to 2011 in the Providence metropolitan area was 535, earning the metro area the No. 43 spot on the Brookings Institution’s report analyzing patenting and innovation trends in the nation’s 358 largest metropolitan areas.

The report, “Patenting Prosperity: Invention and Economic Performance in the United States and its Metropolitan Areas,” was released in early February and is the first analysis to present patenting trends on a regional level from 1980 to 2012.

The report ranked the country’s largest metropolitan areas on patenting levels and growth, while noting the firms and organizations responsible. “It also analyzes how patenting affected productivity levels in each region, comparing patents — which embody novel inventions — to other sources of economic dynamism, such as educational attainment,” said the release.

The average number of patents issued yearly in the Providence metro area (based on figures from 2007 to 2011) was 535. The number of patents per thousand jobs in the area was 0.8, ranking the metro region 81st of 358 on the Brookings report. Claims per patent was listed as an annual average of 12, earning the metro area the No. 170 rank out of 358.

Within the Providence metro area, golf-product maker The Achushnet Co. was the leading patent maker in 2011, more than doubling the number of patents granted by DePuy Spine Inc., which took the No. 2 slot.

Achushnet Co., the parent company of the Titleist and FootJoy golf brands, had 122 patents issued in 2011. Raynham-based med-tech maker DePuy had 55 patents granted in 2011. The United States Navy received 35 patents; Foxboro-based Invensys Systems Inc. received 30 patents; Boston Scientific Corp. was issued 28 patents, and the Gillette Co. was granted 23.

“Research has established that patents are correlated with economic growth across and within the same country over time,” said the report. “Yet, metropolitan areas play a uniquely important role in patenting, and the study of metropolitan areas within a single large country — the United States — allows one to isolate the role of patents from other potentially confounding factors like population size, industry concentration and workforce characteristics.”

According to the report, the GDP per worker in the Providence metro area in 2011 was $91,397, the 97th best in the United States.

The percentage of workers in technology in 2011 was 4.5 percent, earning the metro area No. 69 slot. In 2011, 9.9 percent of workers had a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) bachelor’s degree, the 106th best in the U.S. The metro area comprises two of the top-ranked STEM graduate programs, earning it the No. 29 spot out of 358.

Also in 2011, companies, organizations or individuals within the Providence metro area earned 20 Small Business Innovation Research Awards, the 57th highest in the country.

Nationally, the report found that the rate of patenting in the U.S. has been increasing in recent decades and currently stands at historically high levels.

Computer companies received the lion’s share of the country’s patents from 2007 to March 2012, with IBM Corp. in the top spot with 41,560 patents. Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp., and Hewlett-Packard Co. ranked No. 2 through No. 4, in order and the General Electric Co. earned rounded out the top five with 8,344 patents from 2007 to March 2012.

To view the full report, visit:

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