Area companies prolific at filing patents

BOULDER – Boulder County has some of the most productive inventors and receives some of the highest amounts of government funding for innovation in the country, according to new statistics from the Brookings Institution, a national public policy group.

Boulder County inventors filed an average 666 patents per year between 2007 and 2011 – putting the county at No. 33 in the country for the average number of patents filed, according to the new Brookings report. The report “Patenting Prosperity: Invention and Economic Performance in the United States and its Metropolitan Areas” looked at patents issued between 1980 and 2012 to show hubs of entrepreneurialism across the country.

The Denver metro area ranked No. 29 of the 358 metro areas studied, according to Brookings. The Denver metropolitan statistical area includes Broomfield and Aurora. Denver inventors filed an average of 775 patents per year between 2007 and 2011.

The Brookings Institution report indicated that the most entrepreneurial areas in the country tend to have the strongest economies.

Bioscience research company Dharmacon Inc. in Lafayette filed the most patents in 2011, with 57, according to Brookings. Dharmacon has been owned by Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. since 2004, (NYSE:TMO), a Waltham, Massachusetts-based bioscience company.

The Longmont office of Xilinx Inc. (Nasdaq: XLNX) filed 46 patents in 2011, putting it at No. 2 on the local top patenting companies list, according to Brookings. The integrated circuit company is based in San Jose, California. No. 3 was Boulder-based Array BioPharma Inc. with 40 patents. Array (Nasdaq: ARRY) is developing drugs to treat cancer.

When it comes to entrepreneurial funding metrics, Boulder County ranked No. 10 in the country in terms of money local companies received from Small Business Innovation Research grants in 2011. Boulder County companies received 118 SBIR grants in 2011.

The Denver metro area ranked No. 15 in the country with 83 SBIR grants in 2011. While no specific dollar amounts were listed in the Brookings report, SBIR funding for companies comes from the federal Small Business Administration.

Boulder County ranked No. 6 in the country in terms of company initial public offerings per capita from 2000 to 2006, according to the Brookings report. Going public on a national stock exchange is seen as one sign of startup company success. The value of the initial public offerings per capita – inflation adjusted – was $11,561 in Boulder County for the six-year period, according to the Brookings report.

By comparison, the Denver metro area ranked No. 25 in the country in terms of company initial public offerings per capita from 2000 to 2006, according to the Brookings report. The value of the initial public offerings per capita – inflation adjusted – was $4,552 for the six-year period in the Denver metro area, according to the Brookings report.

The Brookings Institution website, www.brookings.edu, shows more details about patent activity in each metro area in the country. Brookings is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C.


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