"NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- U.S. innovation slowed this
year for the first time in 13 years as the recession cut into
budgets, and costs to protect inventions rose.
"The number of patent filings in the United States fell 2.3% in
2009 to 485,500 from 496,886 last year, according to a preliminary
estimate by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. That makes 2009
the first year since 1996 in which businesses and inventors filed
fewer patents year over year.
""That's unfortunate because [patent filings] are a reflection
of innovation," said David Kappos, director of the Patent Office.
"Innovation creates so many jobs and so much opportunity for our
country. It is absolutely key to our long-term success in the
"At the same time, U.S. patents issued to inventors and
businesses in foreign nations jumped 6.3% for the year. That's a
worry for Silicon Valley, which has been a global leader for