Rochester area inventors in Monroe and Ontario counties received more patent approvals from the U.S. Patent and Trade Office in the first quarter of 2012 than in any quarter of 2011.
Total Rochester area patent approvals, including Kodak and Xerox, rose to 534 in the first quarter of 2012, a significant increase over the 446 patents issued in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The patents issued and approved figures are compiled by the intellectual property law firm of Hoffman Warnick LLC with offices in Albany, Boston and Rochester.
The number of non-Kodak and Xerox patent approvals reported (324) was also a significant increase over the fourth quarter’s 274 and the highest total since 345 were approved in the first quarter of 2011.
The number of Rochester area patent applications including Xerox and Kodak also rose to the highest level since the second quarter of 2011 with 576.
Non-Kodak and Xerox patent applications remained steady in the first quarter with 438 total applications.
“Issuances generally reflect company research and development investment from a few years ago, while new application filings reflect more current research and development investment,” said Rochester-based Hoffman Warnick LLP attorney Carl Ruoff.
Although application filings including Kodak and Xerox rose slightly in the first quarter, Ruoff said the decrease in application filings over the first quarter of 2011 was likely due to Kodak’s financial struggles.
“Even though they’re having trouble they’re still innovative and it’s in their best interest to protect that or at least their most promising innovation,” said Hoffman Warnick LLP attorney David Henn. “They’ll need to follow through if they want to retain the rights to their innovation.”
Henn said Kodak filed a lot of ink jet printing patent applications in the past two to three years that may be showing up as USPTO approvals now.
Henn said the 438 non-Kodak/Xerox patent application figures for the first quarter continue to show that the area is “very technically oriented.”
Those applications may not take as long to approve in the future since the USPTO has taken steps to address its backlog of applications and plans to open a satellite office in Detroit in June with 100 new patent examiners.
The firm picked a patent issued for Carestream Health, Inc. in Rochester to illustrate the area’s innovative technology.
As explained in U.S. Patent 8,139,828, the patent provides a method for enhanced visualization of mammographic images that can be used for the diagnosis of breast cancer.
Albany-based intellectual property law firm Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti PC released 2011 year-ending figures for its Clean Energy Patent Growth Index.
Firm figures indicate clean energy patents rose 24 percent in 2011 to its highest level ever of 2331 approved patents worldwide.
Patents issued in wind energy, solar power, tidal energy and biofuel rose significantly in 2011.
General Electric led the world in clean energy patents issued to companies with 184. GE’s patents were primarily in wind, solar power and hybrid/electric vehicles.
New York finished second to California in the number of clean energy patents issued in the U.S. with 218.