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That growth slowed from 2010, in which new O.C. patents leaped 33% but it was still significantly better than nationwide which registered 246,698 patents up only 1.4% from 2010, Itchkawitz says.
In 2010, Itchkawitz attributed significant growth in patents granted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reducing application backlog and decreasing the amount of time an application was pending.
It will be interesting to see what impact the fundamental change in U.S. patent law taking effect March 13 will have on the number and type of patents. As of that date, the first to file an invention — rather than the traditional first to invent as established by records — will be granted a patent.
Clearly, Irvine and Broadcom dominate Orange County’s patent landscape. Top local patent recipients and their 2011 performance compared to 2010, Itchkawitz says, are:
• Broadcom, Irvine: 1,074; +24%
• Allergan, Irvine: 133; +27%
• Western Digital, Lake Forest: 86; +28%
• AMO, Santa Ana: 75; +83%
• Edwards Lifesciences, Irvine: 40; +33%
• Newport Media, Lake Forest: 38; +90%
• Masimo, Irvine: 36; +125%
• QLogic, Aliso Viejo: 34; -11%
The list isn’t that different from 2010. Newport Media and Masimo made it into the eight this year while BSH Home Appliance and Oakley dropped off the list.
Broadcom not only receives the most patents but vigorously defends the ones it already owns. In October, a federal court ordered Emulex Corp. in Costa Mesa to pay Broadcom almost $388,000 for patent infringementin an ongoing legal battle over Broadcom’s failed attempt to take over Emulex.
Itchkawitz also notes that his law firm obtained 276 U.S. patents for more than 80 Orange County clients.
Itchkawitz who holds both a doctorate in physics and a law degree, writes the OC Techinnovation blog that highlights some of the creative ideas coming out of Orange County companies and individuals. He doesn’t detail every patent granted on his blog and tends to favor those that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awards to small firms.
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