Graph of the Week: Patents in the United States


Which Idaho county outpaces all others for utility patents approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office? If you guessed Ada County, home to 400,000-plus residents and big companies like Simplot and Micron, you'd be right.

Utility patents are also referred to as "patents for invention," issued by the USPTO for new processes, machines and more. They're issued for everything from smartphone interfaces to washing machine designs.

But you probably couldn't guess just how many inventions and ideas Ada County residents and businesses have patented. That's why Boise Weekly presents our third installment of Graph of the Week, a regular series that looks to give context to a pile of data.

As the graph below shows, Ada County ranked 11th among all American counties for the number of utility patents awarded to businesses and individuals, with a total of 5,186 patents between 2006 and 2010.

By comparison, the Idaho county with the second-largest number of patents was Canyon County, with 357, ranking 194th nationally.