Off Beat: Patent pending in Yuba-Sutter? Probably not
They talk a lot about economic development in Yuba-Sutter. But what are they doing about it?
There was a burst of excitement recently about a glove factory coming to Yuba County. And how about tourism?
How about real jobs and real innovation?
The Brookings Institution this month issued a report that measured innovation in 358 metropolitan areas based on the number of patents that are issued.
Since it's a list of metropolitan areas, that means Yuba-Sutter is included. Hang tight.
"The creation and adoption of new products, services, technologies and business models drives economic growth. Improving America's standard of living and competitive edge depends on the nation's ability to innovate," Brookings said on its website.
The report, "Patenting Prosperity: Invention and Economic Performance in the United States and its Metropolitan Areas," examines patenting trends from 1980-2012.
A patent is granted to an inventor by the government as acknowledgment of exclusive intellectual rights.
Brookings said its analysis "examines the importance of patents as a measure of invention to economic growth and explores why some areas are more inventive than others."
It noted that 63 percent of all US patents "are developed by people living in just 20 metro areas, which are home to 34 percent of the US population."
Inventions "are a major driver of long-term regional economic performance, especially if the patents are of higher quality," the report said.
So where did the Yuba City metro area (Yuba and Sutter counties) rank?
If you guessed last, you would be wrong. But not by much.
As you might expect, the San Jose metro is tops with an average of about 9,200 patents per year.
Yuba-Sutter? An average of four patents per year, ranking 331st.
How many patents per thousand jobs? 0.1. It ranks 309th out of 358.
"This study finds that a low-patenting metro area would add $4,300 per worker to its economy each decade if it became a high-patenting metro area — adjusting for other factors that affect productivity growth," Brookings said.
The report noted that "during the industrial revolution, most patent inventors were blue collar workers, but as technologies have become more complex, the importance of formal training in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields has increased."
Brookings said Yuba-Sutter, in 2011, had 4.6 percent of its workers with bachelor's degrees in STEM, ranking 321st. In Chico, it's almost double at 8.8 percent. In San Jose, it's nearly 25 percent.