Orange County Inventors Awarded 14% More Patents in 2011

USPTO-Image-164x164 Orange County – Orange County Inventors were awarded a total of 2,709 patents in 2011, 14 percent more than in the previous year. 2010 saw the biggest leap in patents granted to Orange County inventors, with an impressive increase of 33 percent over 2009.

Although the 2011 growth in patents slowed from 2010, Orange County’s growth was still significantly higher than the nationwide growth, which saw an increase of only 1.4 percent from 2010. The total number of patents granted nationwide in 2011 was 246,698.

The increase may partially be due to the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s efforts in reducing the patent application backlog by decreasing the amount of time the applications were pending.

In March, the USPTO will begin using the first-to-file system for approving patent applications, rather than the traditional first-to-invent process. In a first-to-file system, also called the “first inventor to file system, patent rights will be granted to the first person or inventor to file a patent application for that invention, regardless of the date of actual invention. The controversial new system of granting patents has many small businesses and independent inventors worried that their inventions will be overridden by large companies that have deep pockets to get patent applications in first.

The first-to-file patent application process was put into place in order to bring United States patent law in line with other countries’ patent laws. The first-to-file system is included in the America Invents Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2011.

The list of top Orange County patent recipients and their 2011 vs. 2010 performance include:

1. Broadcom, Irvine – 1,074 patents; +24%
2. Allergan, Irvine – 133 patents; +27%
3. Western Digital, Lake Forest – 86 patents; +28%
4. AMO, Santa Ana – 75 patents; +83%
5. Edwards Lifesciences, Irvine – 40 patents; +33%
6. Newport Media, Lake Forest – 38 patents; +90%
7. Masimo, Irvine – 36 patents; +125%
8. Qlogic, Aliso Viejo – 34; -11%

The two newcomers to the 2011 list were Masimo and Newport Media, while BSH Home Appliance and Oakley dropped off the list.

For more information see this article by Jan Norman at the OC Register referencing this blog entry.




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