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Patent Technology Monitoring Team (PTMT)

U.S. State Patenting
Breakout By Regional Component,
Utility Patent Grants

Explanation of Data

This set of tables, prepared from the Technology Assessment and Forecast (TAF) database, profiles utility patents (i.e., ' patents for inventions ') granted during the time period specified in the report. Displayed annual counts are calendar year counts that correspond to patents granted during annual time periods that extend from January 1 to December 31 of each year.

The patent data used to prepare this report were derived from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Technology Assessment and Forecast database. Records in this relational database contain patent bibliographic information that is used by PTMT to develop statistical summaries of patent activity.

Brief Report Description

This set of tables presents a more detailed geographic view of utility patent activity for patents originating from U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia. The geographic distribution of the patents is based on the residence, at grant, of the inventor whose name appears first on the printed patent (i.e., the first-named inventor). Each regional table presents a list of regional components, such as counties, that are contained within that region. Annual calendar year patent counts are displayed for each regional component with the components listed in order of decreasing total patent counts. A summed total count for all listed regional components also is included in each table.

U.S. States and Regional Components (e.g., Counties)

Regional components may consist of counties, boroughs, cities, parishes, or other defined geographic areas that have been identified within each of the states and territories. In these drill-down tables, PTMT has used Federal information processing standards codes (FIPS codes) and their associated geographic areas as a basis for the reported regional components. The FIPS codes for each regional component area are displayed under the column heading, "FIPS code". The first two characters of the listed code identify the U.S. state, territory, or the District of Columbia while the last three characters of the code identify the regional component area within that U.S. state, territory, or the District of Columbia.

As previously explained at the U.S. Census Bureau Web Site,
"Federal information processing standards codes (FIPS codes) are a standardized set of numeric or alphabetic codes issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to ensure uniform identification of geographic entities through all federal government agencies. The entities covered include: states and statistically equivalent entities, counties and statistically equivalent entities, named populated and related location entities (such as, places and county subdivisions), and American Indian and Alaska Native areas."

Please note that FIPS codes are no longer considered to be a standard. As explained at the current U.S. Census Bureau Web Site:
"The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has taken over the management of geographic codes from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Under NIST, the codes adhered to the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS). ANSI now issues two types of codes. They continue to issue the commonly used FIPS codes, although the acronym has now changed to Federal Information Processing Series, because it is no longer considered the standard."
Further information about FIPS codes can be viewed at the U.S. Census Bureau Web Site,

Caveat -- Location of Inventor Residence Versus Location of Inventive Activity

Please note:
In this set of tables, while the counts of granted patents associated with a region often reflect the level of inventive activity that occurred within that region, this is not always the case since regional patent counts are based on the residence locations of the first-named inventors at the time of grant which may differ from the locations of their inventive activity, for example, the locations of their employment.

Rounding of Patent Counts and Order of Displayed Patent Organizations

In a small number of cases, PTMT was unable to match a patent with a single regional component area and, instead, had to match the patent with two or more possible regional component areas (e.g., counties). This situation can occur when the name of an inventor's city of residence matches two or more regional component areas that are located in different areas of the state or territory and also can occur when an inventor's city spans more than one regional component area. In such cases, the count for that patent has been divided equally between the two or more matched areas. For example, if a patent is associated with two counties, then that patent would result in one-half of a patent count for each associated county; if a patent is associated with three counties, then that patent would result in one-third of a patent count for each associated county; etc. As a result of this counting process, counts for regional component areas may include fractional counts of patents (e.g., one-half patents, one-third patents, etc.). In the tables, however, counts have been rounded to whole numbers resulting in some regional component areas that may appear to be listed out of order. The component areas, however, are sorted first by descending total patent counts and second by ascending alphabetical order. As an additional effect of the patent count rounding process, some presented data in the tables may not sum exactly to the displayed totals.

PTMT Methodology for Associating Patent Origin With Regional Areas

Patent origin is based on the residence of the first-named inventor. Because readily available inventor residence information generally is limited to the city and state at the time of patent grant, patents have been associated with U.S. regional component areas by using a U.S. Post Office reference file to match the city and state of residence of each inventor to one or more U.S. regional component areas (e.g., counties). In cases where the inventor residence data did not match one or more U.S. regional component areas (e.g., counties), PTMT made efforts to manually review the data and match those data to the appropriate areas. For a small percentage of the patents (about 0.01%), PTMT was unable to determine an associated regional component area (e.g., county). Counts for these patents have been listed separately in the tables and are labeled "Undetermined County" under the 'Regional Area Component' heading in the table. For a very small number of patents, PTMT also was unable to identify the U.S. state or territory of origin and, in such cases, the patents have been placed in a separate table with the U.S. region identified as , "U.S. Unspecified Region".

Because of the numerous cases where an inventor city and state of residence is associated with multiple regional component areas (e.g., counties), PTMT has focused most of its efforts on performing regional aggregations of patent counts at the metro/micropolitan area level rather than at the U.S. state and county level. The issues associated with identifying a unique location for each inventor are reduced substantially when the residence data are aggregated at the metropolitan and micropolitan regional area level. The PTMT reports that aggregate patent counts at the metro/micropolitan area level are available elsewhere on the USPTO Web Site.

However, in an effort to address interest in patenting activity at the regional component level within each U.S. state and territory, PTMT has produced this set of regional component area tables. As presented in this set of tables and using the described matching methodology, PTMT processing results in about 12 percent of the first-named patent inventors being associated with more than one regional component area (e.g., county). By comparison, about 2 percent of the first-named patent inventors are associated with more than one area when aggregating data at the metro/micropolitan area level.

The file used for matching inventor city and state of residence information to counties is based on U.S. Post Office (USPS) 5-digit zip code, place name, and county data files distributed to the public during the last week of March, 2011. The particular USPS file used to perform the matching of inventor city and state of residence to regional component area (e.g., county) of residence was obtained from a private vendor.

Use of U.S. Post Office Files For Determining Regional Areas

U.S. Post Office (USPS) 5-digit zip code, place name, and county data files, as obtained from a private vendor, have been used to identify inventor county of residence from the city and state of residence.

Place name and associated county data available from the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, accessible at:,
have replaced the former FIPS 55-3 standard that was used, with some modifications, for producing some previous PTMT reports that profile patenting by U.S. county and metropolitan area. These GNIS data were considered for use in the inventor residence matching process used for this current set of tables. Ultimately, however, PTMT chose to use the USPS files to produce this set of tables for several reasons. First, when performing inventor residence matching using the USPS files, PTMT was able to obtain a higher matching percentage than when using the GNIS data. Second, while the GNIS data contain many more place name entries for each state than the USPS files, this results in more cases where a place name within a state is associated with multiple locations in the state. For example, the GNIS data identify two to four different locations within California for the place name, "Mountain View", while the USPS file identifies a single location. Investigation into this particular example determined that the three additional locations for "Mountain View" that were identified by the GNIS data were either very small regions in California that were unlikely to be associated with many inventors or older historic-named areas. Third, for many of the inventors, the residence information includes a street address and zip code which suggests to PTMT that the USPS zip code files should be more compatible with the residence information being provided by the inventors (note that while many inventors provide their full street address of residence, only the inventor city and state of residence generally are available in a non-image format that is readily usable for performing computer aggregations of the data).

There are several issues of note associated with using the USPS files for determining the inventor county of residence from the city and state of residence. In some cases, the USPS files may associate a place name with an incorrect, adjacent county, as a result of the way in which the USPS zip code files are built, where each zip code is associated with one primary county and with one or more city names. As another issue of note, the USPS file omits some smaller place name locations within each state which may result in the undercounting of patents associated with those areas (and the overcounting of patents from some other areas). However, even with these noted limitations, the data aggregations displayed in this set of drill-down tables may be useful in evaluating patenting activity associated with the U.S. regional component areas.

While the methods used by PTMT to associate and count patents by regional component area have some limitations, it is believed that the counts displayed in this report should be representative of the activity of patents originating from those areas. PTMT drill-down reports profiling patenting activity at the micro/metropolitan area level should have fewer issues associated with the data aggregation process, however, and, are recommended for use, where possible, in evaluating U.S. localized patenting activity.

Comments regarding the PTMT matching and count aggregation process are welcome and should be directed to PTMT.

Analyzing the Data

Use of spreadsheet software may facilitate analysis of the data contained in these tables. Users should note that many spreadsheet software programs (e.g., Microsoft Excel) can open these report files directly. Check the spreadsheet software documentation for details.

PTMT Contacts

Questions regarding these reports should be directed to:

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Electronic Information Products Division - PTMT
P.O Box 1450
Alexandria VA 22313-1450

tel: (571) 272-5600
fax: (571) 273-0110

address of PTMT pages at the USPTO Web Site:
selected PTMT files available for download at :


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