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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Technology Monitoring Team publishes statistics and trends that are useful for identifying innovative capabilities and regional concentrations across the state of Tennessee. The last year that the PTM team published their statistics was 2015. Here are a few snapshots:

Where does Tennessee rank among all states for patenting activity?

  • Ranked #30 for utility patenting (883 issued in 2015).
  • Ranked #25 for design patenting (138 issued in 2015).

Which Tennessee entities are the most frequent filers? (# patents issued over the last 5 years)

  1. UT-Battelle, LLC (aka Oak Ridge National Lab) (351)
  2. Smith & Nephew (315)
  3. Eastman Chemical Company (307)
  4. Nissan North America (267)
  5. Vanderbilt University (193)
  6. International Paper (148)
  7. UT Research Foundation (91)
  8. Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (60)
  9. Wright Medical Technology (50)
  10. Radio Systems Corp. (43)

By comparison, what entities are the most frequent filers in California? (same 5 year period)

  1. Qualcomm (9,789)
  2. Google (8,818)
  3. Intel (7,593)
  4. Apple (7,525)
  5. Broadcom (5,587)

What are Tennessee’s nerdiest neighborhoods? (Where are all the resident inventors, based upon patents issued over the last 15 years?)

  1. Shelby Co (7,126)
  2. Knox Co (4,677)
  3. Sullivan Co (3,310)
  4. Davidson Co (2,577)
  5. Williamson Co (1,664)
  6. Anderson Co (1,316)
  7. Hamilton Co (1,203)
  8. Washington Co (874)
  9. Madison Co (872)
  10. Putnam Co (811)


Who’s Doing the Patenting?

Who’s doing all the patenting in Memphis? (based upon the last five years of filing data)

  1. Warsaw Orthopedic
  2. Thomas & Betts
  3. Smith & Nephew
  4. SDGI Holdings
  5. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Who’s doing all the patenting in Knoxville?

  1. UT-Battelle
  2. Siemens Medical Solutions
  3. UT Research Foundation
  4. Alstom Technology
  5. Lockheed Martin Energy Research

Who’s doing all the patenting in Nashville?

  1. Vanderbilt University
  2. Illinois Tool Works
  3. Schneider Electric
  4. Electrolux Home Products
  5. E.I. Du Pont

Who’s doing all the patenting in Chattanooga? (note there wasn’t a single patent issued to any of these entities in 2015)

  1. Maytag
  2. National Starch and Chemical Investment Holding
  3. Card-Monroe
  4. Tuftco
  5. Akzo Nobel


What’s Being Patented?

What’s being patented in Memphis? (according to PTO technical art class)

  1. Surgical instruments (class 606)
  2. Prosthesis (class 623)
  3. Drugs (class 424)
  4. Electricity: conductors and insulators (class 174)
  5. Surgery (class 600)
  6. On the rise: automotive data processing (class 701)

What’s being patented in Knoxville?

  1. Radiant energy (class 250)
  2. Measuring and testing (class 073)
  3. Electrical communications (class 340)
  4. Stock material (class 428)
  5. Data processing (class 702)
  6. One the rise: ships (class 114); inorganic chemistry (class 423); image analysis (class 382)

What’s being patented in Nashville?

  1. Drugs (class 424)
  2. Chemistry (class 435)
  3. Surgery (class 128)
  4. Financial data processing (class 705)
  5. Electrical heating (class 219)
  6. One the rise: prosthesis (class 623); data processing (class 700, 704, 706, 707); electrical audio processing (class 381)

What’s being patented in Chattanooga?

  1. Sewing (class 112) (yes, seriously, the #1 outdoor recreation city in America…sewing)
  2. Synthetic resins (class 520)
  3. Electrical heating (class 219)
  4. Drugs (class 424)
  5. Stock material (class 428)
  6. On the rise: illumination (class 362); fluid handling (class 137)

About Kevin Christopher

[avatar user=”kevin” size=”medium” align=”left” link=”file” /]

Kevin is founder and principal of Rockridge®. Kevin’s practice areas include corporate, patent and trademark law. He is an entrepreneur, NIH RADx faculty member and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) reviewer. He mentors impactful and innovative founders through First Flight Venture Center, Oak Ridge National Lab Innovation Crossroads, and Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale. Kevin has been recognized as a SuperLawyer by Thomson Reuters and Top Business Leader by Conscious Company Magazine. Read more about Kevin, connect with him, and Calendly him.

RVL recommended reading by Kevin:

Plainspeak IP: IP Fundamentalist of Fundamentals

Plainspeak IP: Social Media Influencers

Grading Georgia’s Public Benefit Corporation Law

Improving Your Trademark EQ: How to Choose a RAD Trademark

What is a Patent? Why do I Need One? How can I Get One? What’s it Gonna Cost Me?

Common Mistakes Made by Entrepreneurs

SECsy for the Sharks: Tips on Creating and Delivering Startup Pitches that Meet Federal Regulatory Requirements

About RVL®

Rockridge Venture Law® was launched in 2017 to become the preeminent intellectual property and technology firm across the Appalachian Innovation Corridor. We now have offices in Chattanooga, Durham, and Nashville, and represent clients and interests globally. Our services include all aspects of intellectual property, litigation, M&A, privacy, technology transactions, and ventures.

In 2018 and 2019, we were recognized as B Corp Best for the World for our commitment to triple bottom line business practices. Rockridge® is also certified by 1% for the Planet for its nonprofit partnerships advancing stewardship and sustainability. RVL’s nonprofit partners in 2020 include Green|Spaces, Living Lands and Waters, Mustard Seed Ranch, and the NC State Lulu Games Social and Environmental Impact Competition. We value transparency and proudly publish our yearly impact reports.

Our pioneering environmental and social impact programs attract top-notch legal talent and assure our clients of missional alignment with their corporate values. Rockridge uniquely addresses two modern profit drivers: innovation (uptake and development), and corporate social responsibility. We’re Building Today’s Company for Tomorrow’s Economy® by leading clients through the dizzying array of information controls, by helping them to develop and monetize proprietary assets, and by enabling their impactful products, programs, and principles.

Learn about global impact and innovation leaders at Rockridge I-Suite®.

See case studies on how we’ve helped transformative companies at Rockridge Case Studies.

Kevin Christopher

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