New Hampshire’s patent leader is no surprise – but he’s not the region’s patent leader

Granite Geek
Published: 11/27/2020 2:58:14 PM

A commercial real-estate firm called CommercialCafe crunched data on patents from 1975 through 2015 and did some state-by-state comparisons – probably because it knows media outlets (who, me?) can’t resist such lists.

You will not be surprised to hear that the New Hampshire individual with the most patents is Dean Kamen. I encounter his name almost every week while passing on the list of New Hampshire-related patents for the blog at He’s usually associated with other engineers at DEKA, the R&D firm that he founded in 1982 and which has become a linchpin of southern New Hampshire’s economy.

It’s hard for outsiders to know how much of each patent is actually his or whether he has become the equivalent of an academic research lab’s “principal investigator,” the senior academic who brings in grant money and gets his (it’s usually a male) name put on anything the lab does.

In terms of New Hampshire companies, DEKA is outdone by BAE Systems for total patents, but I can’t give you numbers because it’s too difficult to filter out the other parts of BAE’s global empire in the Patent Office database. Hypertherm in Hanover, Allegro Microsystems in Manchester and Bauer Hockey in Exeter also show up frequently on our weekly patent list.

Academically, Dartmouth is by far the patent leader for the state (no surprise there).

Surprisingly, Kamen’s not the most prolific patent-getting in Northern New England. Edward J. Nowak, a physicist living in Shelburne, Vt., who is ” Chief Designer at Quantum Queries/Quantum Jump” has 631 patents with his name attached, compared to 361 for Kamen.

A comparison of industrial areas that received patents shows how New Hampshire has completely shed its industrial history: The most patents were for Electricity, and the least were in Textiles.

Here’s the comparison with our neighbors:

It includes total patents between the years 1975 and 2019.

N.H.: 12,325

Mass.: 148,944

Vt.: 2,582

Maine: 2,773

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)

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