The Rocky Mountain region, home to the Western frontier spirit, is no stranger to innovation. As we see from the map, Boise leads the region for producing the most patents. But we also see hotbeds of innovation surrounding Denver, Colorado – including Englewood, Fort Collins and Boulder – and Salt Lake City, Utah – including Provo and Orem. Overland Park, Kansas, home of Sprint’s corporate headquarters, and Omaha, Nebraska, are also regional centers of innovation.
Although the city of Denver has fewer total patents than Boise, the state of Colorado leads the region with the most patents produced in recent years. Utah has also seen a recent rise in patented innovation.
Boise’s innovative prominence is led by Micron Technology, which ranks first among the top 10 patent-producing assignees in the Rocky Mountain region. Two entities under the Sprint Corporation (Sprint Communications and Sprint Spectrum) are also key producers of patented innovation. The prominence of information technology and telecommunications is evident among the top patenting firms, including EchoStar Technologies, Level 3 Communications and CenturyLink. The top patent producers also include the University of Utah, showing the relative importance of academic-led research to the region.
The number of forward citations a patent receives is indicative of its value and influence on future innovation. Highly cited patents (those having 100+ citations) are particularly influential. Every state in the Rocky Mountain region has contributed some highly-cited patents across a diverse range of sectors. Despite lower overall patent production, Kansas generates a significant number of highly cited patents across diverse sectors, including in electrical engineering, instruments and mechanical engineering. Similarly, Colorado is the source for some of the region’s most influential patents in electrical engineering, instruments and design.
These observations indicate a strong level of valuable patenting activity in the Rocky Mountain region, spread across several states and a diverse range of technologies.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Rocky Mountain Regional Office is located in Denver, Colorado and serves Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. The goal of the Rocky Mountain Regional Office is to promote innovation and stimulate the economy by connecting entrepreneurs to government resources, supporting students and teachers through our STEM education programs, gathering feedback from regional stakeholders, and recruiting diverse talent from the region. For more information, see https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/uspto-locations/rocky-mountain-regional-office-colorado.
Data for this post was derived from the PatentsView website and database: https://www.patentsview.org