Sandy, Utah – A Hotspot for Innovation?

In this weekend’s The Wall Street Journal, Sandy, Utah was mentioned as an up and coming hotspot of innovation. While it didn’t rank in the 20 most inventive towns in America (based on numbers of patents to small business and individuals), it did get special mention in a sidebar on page P6 of the July 22/23, 2006 edition. The small Utah community had 59 patents issue to individuals and small businesses last year, compared to 86 for the much larger Indianapolis or 132 for Las Vegas, both of which were also listed as “up and comers.” According to the Journal, “In just over a decade, the city has built two million square feet of Class-A office space, which now averages 6% vacancy.”

Something exciting is brewing in Sandy.

It’s a great town that has produced some of America’s most vital and loved resources – my wife, for example.

Now here’s a question: what Utah company deserves to be called the most innovative in Utah? There are some great firms out there and a lot of new businesses booming, but who really leads when it comes to developing exciting inventions or patents?


Author: Jeff Lindsay

11 thoughts on “Sandy, Utah – A Hotspot for Innovation?

  1. Interesting… my semi-“girlfriend” lives in Sandy. She’ll be going to U of U, I’ll be at BYU this fall.

    We’ll see how long that lasts, haha.

  2. Sandy use to also have the highest use of antidepressants for a Utah town. Maybe so many people are having drug induced mania or bipolar disorder. Mania can be a time the mind become creative or over stimulated.

  3. When I worked for Intel, we were paid (our normal hourly wage) to CHURN out (extremely silly – to me) patents (and $5000 if it made it through the patent office). When big companies argue over I.P. their lawyers simply stack up patents (“We have 200O patents covering such and such). My point is patents mean nothing about inovation.

  4. Utah is home to the world’s first accredited competency-based university, Western Governors University. To my knowledge, there are no others currently opperating.

  5. Anonymous @ 6:17, unfortunately Jeff is very enthusiastic about the supposed wonders of patents.

  6. The Wall Street Journal recognizes the demonstrated importance of patents for American businesses and as an expression of innovation. The analysis they did eliminates patents from big companies that CHURN them out, and focuses on individuals and small businesses as a measure of local innovation.

    There are many limitations to patents and they are only one of many factors that might relate to innovation, but they are a vitally important way of encouraging innovation. Arguably, the US patent system has been a major factor for the economic advance of the United States. The patent system encourages inventors to share their secrets with the world in exchange for limited monopoly rights. It helps protect inventors’ intellectual property while eventually giving everyone access to their discoveries so that further advances can be made.

  7. Anonymous (7/23 6:10PM) wrote: “Sandy use [sic] to also have the highest use of antidepressants for a Utah town.”

    Documentation, please.

  8. I seriously doubt there is any straightforward way to get a drug induced bipolar disorder of any kind, if one follows the prescribing doctor’s instructions.

    In any case, no one in their right mind would want such a disorder. The mental state of a seriously bipolar person in a down cycle is equivalent to near total mental shutdown – as in often bed ridden, completely incapacitated, unable to reason clearly, all emotions and sensations heavily muted except perhaps overwhelming sadness and paranoia. Not the stuff conductive to invention and productivity, except perhaps a few flashes of brilliance in the transition zone.

    On the high side, mania often does not lead to true productivity, either, because it makes people become careless, devising all sorts of schemes that seem to work on paper, but turn out to be practical disasters in real life.

  9. The U.S. Patent system, the way it is being administered these days, is a slightly mitigated disaster – disaster as in in several fields it is leading to a net loss in economic activity.

    This has been widely discussed elsewhere, but the main problems are court decisions to allow exceedingly general software and business method patents, Congress’ inability to fix the system, submarine patents, patent trolls, the practical necessity for M.A.D. based patent-detente under the current system, practical unenforcement of Title 18 requirements for invention non-obviousness and specificity, the fact that patents are considered to be an absolute monopoly that one can use to hold the rest of the world hostage, and extort arbitrary sums for nothing more than a formalization of a passing fancy, and of course the lack of a mandatory patent licensing regime to regulate this lunacy.

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