What is the importance of patents?

A patent is a property right granted by the government to an inventor, giving them the sole right to manufacture, use, or sell an invention for a period of time. The rate of patents is an important indicator of investment into research and development, technological change, and regional labor force qualities. Patents are used as an indicator on their own, or can be grouped with other indicators to gauge a region’s overall innovative capacity. On their own, patents suggest creativity and the application of knowledge, and form a useful indicator comparable across geographies. By providing new or improved products and services the creation of knowledge contributes directly to the region’s competitiveness and improvement of living standards. This indicator speaks to the improvement of productive capacities and services, which in turn is an important measure of competitiveness, and improvement in living standards.

What is measured?

Patents are measured as the number of patents issued, along with relative measures such as Arizona's percent share of southern Border States, U.S. totals.

No. of AZ Patents/Million US Pop. and % Change - Arizona

How competitive is Arizona?

To gauge Arizona’s relative competitiveness in the region, the trend in the rate of patents per capita is compared with other U.S. border states. Data are provided on an annual bases with indices of percentage change between observed periods.

No. of AZ Patents/Million US Pop. - AZ % So. Border States


Number of Patents Issued - Southern Border States


No. of Patents - Arizona - Index - 2006 - USPTO

Annual data

Annual data

The table on this page displays the number of utility patents per 1 million residents for southern U.S. Border States on an annual basis. Data are updated following release by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Click on any title to graph that series, and export. Or, click "download" at the base of the table to download the dataset, or customize based on a specified range.


U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) . Patents reported are the number of utility patents (patents for the invention of a new mechanism, technological process or device) granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to residents of a particular state. Origin of the patent is determined by the residence of the first-named inventor.

U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division (USCB) . Population data for 2000 through 2009 is derived via Intercensal Estimation using the April 1, 2000 and April 1, 2010 census data. Population data from 2010 forward is measured as the number of people on July 1 of each year as estimated by the USCB Population Estimates Program (PEP). Current data is for Vintage 2015.  Vintage is the term used by the U.S. Census Bureau to denote an entire time series; because the current vintage applies the most up-to-date input data and estimating methodologies to all years since the previous census the current vintage supersedes all previous data series.

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