In the last decade, the Tampa Bay earned a reputation for being the innovation hub of Florida. At Smith & Hopen, we know this firsthand because we have the privilege of helping some of the most innovative companies in Tampa secure and defend their patents. We recently published an article highlighting rapid growth of patents granted to the Tampa Bay companies and universities. We also published another article celebrating Tampa Bay inventors and their impressive accomplishments. In the recent years, the Florida High Tech Corridor, comprising University of Central Florida, University of Florida, and University of South Florida, outperformed North Carolina’s Research Triangle in terms of granted patents. So, how did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the Tampa Bay patents?
The number of new patents keeps rising
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of 2020, its economic consequences were largely unforeseeable. The companies had to rapidly adapt to the changing economic landscape. Whether these changes would affect the ability of the Tampa Bay organizations to continue investing in innovation was uncertain.
Five months later, we are elated to report that the number of patents originating from our area continued to rise. In 2019, from March to August, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued 206 patents to companies and universities based in the Tampa Bay area (Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Oldsmar, and Palm Harbor). During the same five-month period in 2020, the number of issued patents increased to 211. Our clients and attorneys worked tirelessly during these hard times, and their hard work has made a significant impact. Indeed, during the pandemic, Smith & Hopen helped secure more patents in the Tampa Bay area than any other law firm.
These positive news reinforce that the Tampa Bay businesses and universities understand the importance of patents and will continue protecting their innovation. It is uplifting to known that even in these uncertain times, the future looks bright for the Tampa Bay. To quote Albert Einstein: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”