July 8, 2012


Another Thing Immigrants Do for the Economy: Invent Cool Things (Elizabeth Dwoskin, July 01, 2012, )

Each year the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awards about 200,000 patents to inventors. Last year a Stanford student built a camera that lets users change what's in focus after snapping a shot; Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers invented a tiny, foldable car; and a patent was awarded for devising a metal that is as strong as steel but can be molded like plastic.

Some of these patents are just cool. Others may turn out to have enormous economic value: This year, Microsoft (MSFT) paid $1.1 billion to buy AOL's (AOL) patent portfolio, which comes to about $1.2 million per patent. All of the patents above have one thing in common: They represent the work of immigrants to the U.S.

Which is why policy makers should flag a recent study that found more than three-quarters of patents from America's top ten patent-producing universities, including MIT, Stanford, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, were the result of breakthroughs by immigrants.

Posted by at July 8, 2012 9:03 AM

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