For many years, we've pointed out that the research shows that patents are not a proxy
for innovation. In fact, they're not even clearly correlated. There is no link between the amount of innovation and the number of patents received. The only thing that patents seem to spur is... more patents
. But... because patents are often falsely associated with innovation and
because they're easy to count, it's a very easy way for the lazy press (and politicians) to assume that they're showing how innovative a certain geographic region might be. We've actually called CNN out
on this lazy trope before, but it hasn't stopped them from coming right back and posting a silly article about the "most inventive states" based entirely on patent counts
Unfortunately, this only serves to reinforce the bogus narrative that patents are a reasonable proxy for innovation, and ignores the true nature of innovation. It's no surprise that lazy journalists would do this kind of thing, but it is a reminder that we really need much better metrics
for measuring innovation.