Where Is Innovation Taking Place In Philadelphia?

If you look at patent activity, it’s happening in the burbs.

Source: JLL Research, United States Patent and Trademark Office

Patent applications are one way to measure a region’s innovation economy. Where are the innovation hotspots in the Philadelphia region based on this metric? With life sciences companies located solidly along the Route 202 Corridor, it’s not surprising that Montgomery and Chester County lead the region in patent applications. And thanks to DuPont’s headquarters in Northern Delaware, New Castle County also boasts high marks for developing new technologies.

Pennovation Works and the Drexel Innovation Neighborhood are two examples of new office/lab space that intend to stimulate commercialization of academic research in Philadelphia. Rowan University’s South Jersey Technology Park in Gloucester County has similar goals. In Montgomery County, the 600,000 square foot Spring House Innovation Park will feature collaborative lab, office, and new business incubation spaces.

The region’s attention to the innovation economy is important, because right now it ranks 14th among metropolitan areas for annual patent applications (2,357 in 2015). In contrast, the leaders in this metric, San Jose and San Francisco, generated 14,618 and 9,732 patent applications, respectively, in the same year.


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