Greater Peoria is not often thought of as a hub for innovation but maybe it should be considering the region scored 4th in the Innovation category in the Greater Peoria Economic Scorecard. Greater Peoria’s success in innovation is evident when you look at the number of patents issued in the region. We are 3rd among our peers only behind Madison, WI and Grand Rapids, MI. We have some great assets in the USDA Ag Lab, Caterpillar and the medical community that focus on applied research and development, but there are also numerous smaller companies that contribute.
Take a look at the patents that have been issued (and more that are in the works) for just a few of the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center tenants and recent graduates.
• Lumec Control Products: US Patent No. 8,132,783 granted on March 13, 2012 for the mechanical arrangement and mechanism which enables our iris diaphragm style valve to seal, effectively controlling fluid flow through the device. Lumec’s most recent patent filing was in 2008 and it is currently in the approval phase.
• ZuChem: US patent No. 7,977,083 “Method for microbial production of Xylitol from Arabinose” and US Patent No. 7,960,152 “Methods for production of Xylitol in microorganisms” were both granted in 2011. US Patent No. AU2005254940 “Methods for production of Xylitol in microorganisms” was granted in 2010. ZuChem has many patents still going through the approval process.
• Ecothermics: U.S. Patent No. 7,794,212 was issued September 14, 2010 for “Multi-Piston Pump/Compressor” and U.S. Patent No. 7,841,205 was issued November 30, 2010 for “Integrated Compressor/Expansion Engine”. EcoThermics has a total of five pending patent applications.
• Endotronix: U.S. Patent No. 8,154,389 was issued April 10, 2012 for a wireless sensor reader. Endotronix also has other patents pending.
All of these companies have indicated they anticipate filing more patents in the next two years. Kip McCoy, The Heartland Partnership COO, says having a patent approved provides a company with a competitive advantage because it essentially means they have laid claim to a technology or design process and no one else can now develop it.
While it is a lengthy process to receive a patent, he says it is a vital step towards moving an innovation forward. “Filing a patent can take several years. The application requires comprehensive drawings describing your invention and it also must include an extremely detailed definition of the scope of the invention, both of which are carefully reviewed to make sure it is not already patented.”
Given the continued backlog that faces the US Patent and Trademark Office, it can take a year or more before for a patent receives its first office action.” McCoy says, while it is a lengthy process to get a patent, it is a vital step towards moving your innovation forward.