September 14, 2009

U.S. Chamber Study Highlights Virginia’s Innovative Contributions

WASHINGTON, DC-The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) today released a report highlighting Virginia’s contributions to America’s innovation economy. This study is part of GIPC’s State Fact Sheets, which provide a look at the roles innovation and creativity play in each state. The report highlights local companies and facts demonstrating how innovation and creativity-which are safeguarded by strong IP rights-serve as a driving force behind economic recovery and future growth.

“Virginia is a leader in America’s innovative economy,” said Dr. Mark Esper, executive vice president of the Chamber’s GIPC. With 270,800 technology workers in 2006, equivalent of 9.1% of the state’s workforce, Virginia has the highest concentration of technology workers in the country. Furthermore, according to the Kauffman Foundations’ 2007 New Economy Index, Virginia ranked first in the number of fastest-growing firms, those with more than 200% annual growth. “The Virginia economy depends on this spirit of innovation and entrepreneurism,” added Esper.

Esper noted examples of innovation and creativity in Virginia. According to GIPC’s study, in 2006, Virginia institutions filed 4,587 patent applications, licensed patents for approximately $9 million, and launched eight start-up companies. A notable example of Virginia-based companies is Orbital, the global leading entity in satellites, space launch vehicles and other space systems. With a reported revenue of more than $1 billion in 2007, Orbital employs 3,300 workers nationally, with its research facilities and companies headquarters in Dulles, VA. In August 2008, Orbital launched the communications satellite responsible for providing broadband services across North America.

“Indeed Virginians are proven innovators,” said Esper. Thomas Jefferson, a distinguished Virginian, served as the first head of the Patent Office and created the U.S. Patent System focusing on promoting innovation and creativity pursuits. Dr. C.D. Fleet of Lynchburg, Virginia invented Chapstick in the 1880s. “America has a unique story to tell, and Virginia plays a large role in this story.”

The Virginia State Fact Sheet is intended to be a resource for legislators, policymakers, and the public to identify successful companies, inventors, creative artists, and innovators to better understand the role they play in our economy and society. As part of an easy-to-use, interactive map, the State Fact Sheet project can be accessed online at, as well as in a printable format.

The Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center is working around the world to champion intellectual property (IP) as vital to creating jobs, saving lives, advancing global economic growth, and generating breakthrough solutions to global challenges.

The U.S. Chamber is the world’s largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

For more information, contact Trinh Nguyen at (202) 463-5379.

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