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The New Jersey Life Sciences Vendors Alliance (NJLSVA) is a coalition of businesses, individuals and academia who provide goods and services to New Jersey’s life sciences companies.

The NJLSVA was founded to educate suppliers on trends in industry procurement and public policy that affects the life sciences industry.

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Patent or Tech Hubs: Does the Innovation Narrative Need to Change?

Washington, DC, February 1, 2013 — Blogging today for The Washington Post, Dominic Basulto writes that the typical narrative about innovation is that a small number of high-tech hubs — places such as Silicon Valley, New York City and Boston — are largely responsible for the bulk of innovation happening in America today. 

Yet, a new report from the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program — entitled “Patenting Prosperity: Invention and Economic Performance in the United States and its Metropolitan Areas” — may end up challenging that narrative with new data about patent activity.

In a survey of patent activity across the nation during the period 1980-2012, the Brookings Institution found that some of the most inventive metropolitan areas in the nation were actually places such as Burlington, VT; Corvallis, OR; and Rochester, MN.  In contrast, New York City, Boston and Washington, DC didn’t even crack the Top 10.

So, Basulto asks:  Should we be talking about patent hubs rather than technology hubs?  And should local government officials be shifting their focus away from Internet start-ups and towards the types of companies, such as biotech, that are especially prolific when it comes to patents?

One of the most interesting observations within the nearly 50-page report is that there is a strong correlation between the presence of a leading research university in a region and the overall inventiveness of a region.

That may explain, Basulto writes, how a metropolitan hub such as Trenton, New Jersey — rarely, if ever, mentioned in the same sentence as Silicon Valley — ended up in the top 15 metropolitan regions for inventiveness, according to the report.  He continues:

“This counter-intuitive finding can only be explained by the fact that Princeton … is also located in New Jersey’s Mercer County.  And, to top it off, consider that a growing number of top pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are also located in the Princeton research corridor.  In its analysis, Brookings notes that biotechnology patents are driving innovation in the Trenton-Ewing metropolitan region.”

For the entire Washington Post story, click here.