U.S. Innovation Falling Further Behind

Innovation creates so many jobs and so much opportunity for our country…it is absolutely key to our long-term success in the global economy, [and patent filings] are a reflection of innovation.”

—David Kappos, Director of the Patent Office

It would be hard to argue with Kappos statement—the U.S. has been a world leader in innovation for decades. Unfortunately, that reign may be coming to an end.

The number of patents filed in 2009 dropped 2.3 percent from the prior year…the first year since 1996 that fewer patents were filed by U.S. inventors year over year.

Yes, you say, but we are in the midst of the Great Recession, and we should expect patent filings to drop. True enough, but it does not explain why U.S. patents (yes, U.S. patents) issued to inventors in foreign nations increased 6.3 percent over the same period.

Here is what Bijal Vakil, partner on White & Case’s intellectual property team, in Palo Alto, CA had to say:

…this trend could spell financial ruin for some U.S. companies. We’ve lost our competitive edge, and other companies from other countries stand to benefit.

I’m about to go and watch the President’s State of the Union speech, where he is supposed to talk about jobs and getting our economy back on track. We’ll see!

But, here’s the real deal—Congress and the Administration can posture and postulate all they want, but if they don’t come up with a plan to get our kids and schools revitalized in the areas of math and science, innovation leadership will soon be taken over by other countries…and where does that leave our high-tech businesses then?

2 thoughts on “U.S. Innovation Falling Further Behind”

  1. Thoughtful post as usual, Bob. Thank you. While the President and the administration should most certainly set policy that reinvigorate studies in math and science, we also have a role to play as parents and community. What is required and expected from all of us matter. The kind of expectation we insist on is crucial.

    Arnie Duncan has done some very interesting and innovative things in Chicago. I like him. From what I’ve read he seems to have his hand on the pulse. Let’s see what we all can do to help. I agree that this is very important matter. I have been concerned about our schools for some time now. I worked as a substitute teacher when I was in graduate school. I loved it!

    By the way, I appreciated a great many aspects of President Obama’s address last night. It was hopeful and detailed as such a speech can be. I was impressed to hear exactly what had been done and what we still have yet to do. We have been in decline for some time. To think that things will turn around in a year is simply unrealistic.

    I was happy to see that President Obama still desires bipartisan, although I had given up on it. Leaders inspire! I was also happy to see him chide his own party. If they can’t get things done with 59 percent, a near super-majority, they shouldn’t be entrusted to govern. Period.
    .-= Judith Ellis´s last blog ..Being the Supreme Court II =-.

  2. Judith – Thank you for your comment. As long as our schools are controlled by “administrators” rather than people who “teach,” I doubt that much, if anything, will change. I also cannot see many parents clamoring for more math and science for their kids—they really only want high grades and high test results.

    I agree that with the Administration and Congress totally controlled by the same party—if they cannot get things done, they should be replaced. I seem to recall that President Reagan said the best combination in Washington was to have the Administration party opposite from the Congress controlled party…that it provided more bipartisan agreement.

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