Description: Although most patents are not translated into commercial applications, an increase in patents, particularly patents filed by existing firms or research institutions, signals a creative community in which research and development dollars have the best opportunity to generate increases in economic activity.
Performance Measure: Number of Patents in Fairfax County – measures the number of utility patent activity originating within Fairfax County. The geographic distribution of the patents is based on the residence, at grant, of the inventor whose name appears first on the printed patent (i.e., the first-named inventor). More information.
- Utility Patent - Issued for the invention of a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or a new and useful improvement thereof, it generally permits its owner to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention for a period of up to 20 years from the date of patent application filing, subject to the payment of maintenance fees. Approximately 90% of the patent documents issued by the USPTO in recent years have been utility patents, also known as "patents for invention" (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 2017).
Interpretation: The number of utility patents increased again over the prior year in 2015, rising 31 to 446 (7.5% increase), thereby signaling an entrepreneurial environment.