Utility Patent Application & Grant Count (2 visuals)

Combination of Patent Application Counts & Grant Counts Foreign vs. U.S. Origin

The data in the below chart via a downloadable Excel file

It’s no secret that a data set can be presented in a variety of ways to show contrasting viewpoints, and our utility patent data is not an exception. This Tableau visualization includes an interactive time horizon slider, a bar graph showing the total count of granted utility patents, and a dual line graph displaying the percentage of those patent grants with foreign and domestic origins. 


The visual exposes a fascinating question about the state of innovation in our country as evidenced by activity in the U.S. patent system. Simply looking at the growth over the last 30 years of the total number of granted U.S. utility patents, the U.S. remains the leading place for global innovators to both register their patents and capitalize on their inventions. On the other hand, while the number of foreign grants has grown its counterpart, domestic grants, has fallen. From the line graph we can see foreign grants topped domestic ones for the first time ever in 2007 and has been higher ever since. Could this be an indicator that other countries are placing a higher emphasis on innovation and, despite the fact that we are still the best place to do business, that a more creative and pioneering culture actually exists outside of the U.S.? Or, can this graph be seen as a call to action to double down on efforts on Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) in the U.S. to ensure innovative competitiveness or could this simply be the result of some sort of global equilibrium finally evening out after 40+ years of U.S. dominance?


Regardless of the answers – this interactive visualization makes one thing clear -- opening data through visualizations empowers anyone to understand and ask the necessary questions to tackle broader policy issues surrounding innovation in our country. 


Source: Patent Technology Monitoring Team: http://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/electronic-data-products/patent-technology-monitoring-team-ptmt-patent

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