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  • 2023

Patent Production per 10,000 ResidentsSeattle


Patent production tracked in the 2023 Regional Competitiveness Report has shown that Seattle is a top performer (ranked #2) with 23.24 patents per 10,000 residents. Tampa Bay ranks 17th with 3.29 patents produced per 10,000 residents.


Metro areas with high patent production have strong research universities, large businesses, are strong performers of STEM curriculum and workforce pipeline, and have strong inventor networks. The best practices below highlight programs offered by their research institutions.


Patents are a significant driver of economic performance and are associated with more productive growth, lower unemployment rates, and the creation of more publicly traded companies. According to a study by the Brookings Institute, the effect of patents on development is roughly equal to that of having a highly educated workforce. A low-patenting metro area could gain $4,300 more per worker over a decade if it became a high-patenting metro area.  

Seattle, Washington, is an excellent example of a large metro area that has built a reputation as a technology hub with high patent production. In 2021, they were awarded 9,324 patents or 23.24 patents per 10,000 residents.   

Their reputation as an innovative community attracts sizable private equity firms in patent-intensive industries, including Microsoft and Amazon. Because of technology’s rapidly advancing and intricate nature, new ideas can produce dozens (up to thousands) of corresponding patents, which may influence the region’s performance in the Patent indicator.  

Large companies require a skilled talent pipeline. Thus, it is unsurprising that, according to the Brookings Institute, the four factors that can predict patent productivity include: a tech-sector workforce, research universities, research collaboration, and college graduates with degrees in STEM fields.   

Seattle has a moderate rate of STEM degrees awarded, ranking 10th out of 20 in the 2023 Regional Competitiveness Report at 40.52 degrees per 10,000 residents. This falls below the U.S. average but higher than Tampa Bay (ranked 12th) at 37.85 per 10,000 residents.   


Research universities serve as a nexus for collaboration and the workforce. They reward creative agency and can attract, retain, and cultivate inventors by providing infrastructure and committed resources.   

A university’s cross-disciplined, intellectual environment stimulates innovation, which is accelerated by funding. University researchers are more likely to receive government financing, which assists with patent development. Additionally, university faculty were more likely to have at least three co-inventors on each claim, attesting to the power of collaboration. The University of Washington (UW) has submitted 8,260 records of innovation since 1980.  

The University of Washington also supports innovation within the surrounding community with resources and network access.   

The Washington Pro Bono Patent Network, UW’s School of Law’s Center for Advanced Study and Research on Innovation Policy (CASRIP) project, matches low-income inventors with a volunteer legal team from some of the city’s top patent firms at no cost. The attorneys help navigate the complex and expensive filing process for a complete patent application.   

CoMotion Labs connects early-stage startups with educational resources, mentors, and collaborative networks based on three industry clusters: Life Sciences, Hardware, and Technology. The program’s patent portfolio managers help to create, maximize, and sustain commercial value from IP assets. CoMotion services are made possible by 11 corporate partners.   

This time-based heat map exemplifies the prevalence of patent submissions within the geography of the campus.   

With a great environment for business, a defined identity as a tech and innovation hub, and a wonderful anchor institution via UW, it is no surprise that Seattle can inspire several best practices to encourage innovation and patent production.