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Spokane County’s rate of patents stagnant, according to Indicators report

The Eastern Washington University-sponsored Community Indicators Initiative recently posted a summary of how Spokane and the area are doing in numbers of patents awarded.

The partents-awarded indicator shows Spokane is doing less well than the rest of the state (forget comparing Spokane with Seattle, as it makes no sense). In general, the number of patents awarded in any community is a fair measure of the level of innovation and dynamic business development.

The summary, penned by Community Indicators Initiative Manager Anna Halloran, is at http://www.communityindicators.ewu.edu/newsletter/page87.html. The chart above is from the CCI newsletter. The red line in Spokane County patents, per thousand; the green line is Washington state.

The key point is that Spokane's economy isn't gaining steam in part because we're not producing enough young companies and eager professionals that are creating patents and product innovations.

First the good news: Spokane County residents or firms obtained more patents in 2010 compared to the year before. The gain was from 75 awarded in '09 to 105 in 2010.

But compared with the state, we're not faring well at all. In general, Halloran notes, Spokane County's patent rate, per thousand residents, has remained flat for the past 10 years.

In 2010, Washington state's patent rate per 1,000 people was 1.02, an increase of close to 143 percent from its patent rate going back to 2000.

Other data worth noting from the report:

  • Washington state received 6,835 U.S. patents in 2010.
  • Seattle accounted for 2,642 of them.
  • Pullman residents or businesses received 39 patents in 2010.