Chattanooga Times Free Press

Area ranks high in patent growth


The Chattanooga area was among the highest uptick in patents granted per 100,000 people in the nation from 2012 to 2022, according to recent analysis of federal data by Axios.

In 2022, Chattanooga was granted 22.7 patents per 100,000 people, up from 12.1 in 2012 — an 88% increase, according to data from the National Science Foundation.

Among other metro areas in the nation, that ranks sixth behind areas such as Louisville, Kentucky; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Northwest Arkansas, home to Walmart corporate headquarters.

Dan Reuter, executive director of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency, said in a phone interview the rise in patents awarded could be attributed to academic entities like the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga or logistical businesses in the area.

“Having that entrepreneurial spirit and those supporting organizations to help encourage and provide ideas and resources,” Reuter

said, “entrepreneurs make use of their ideas and probably go after patents and go after investors.”

He said the relative affordability of Chattanooga and its location between larger metro areas could also attract entrepreneurs.

“Even though we feel like sort of a small, medium-sized city, we’re 90 minutes from the suburbs of Nashville and 90 minutes from

Contact Ben Sessoms bsessoms@timesfree 423-757-6354. the suburbs of Atlanta,” Reuter said. “That makes us an attractive location for entrepreneurs who may not be able to pay the bills of these big metro areas.”

While Chattanooga saw an increase in patents granted, the Silicon Valley area in California still had the most patents awarded overall.

In its analysis, Axios excluded metros with fewer than 50 patents awarded in 2022.