The number of patents granted each year by the U.S. is skyrocketing. Companies inside and outside the country lead the race as they scramble to tap huge American markets.

Patents going to overseas concerns are at an all-time high of 52 percent of the total, according to data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Geographical hotbeds of innovation are still a major factor in the U.S., however. Many traditional locations such as Silicon Valley in California and the New York City area remain strong but some newer regions such as Seattle and Raleigh, N.C., are winning patents at an even faster clip. See the list below. Perhaps these metropolitan areas will be the engines of future growth.

Growth in U.S. patents received
Metropolitan Area        (2002–2011)      Growth in U.S. patents received (percent) Total patents awarded
Seattle–Tacoma–Bellevue, WA 175%         3,597
Raleigh–Cary, NC 76 1,197
San Diego–Carlsbad–San Marcos, CA 68 3,293
Atlanta–Sandy Springs–Marietta, GA 62 1,680
San Francisco–Oakland–Fremont, CA 60 6,468
San Jose–Sunnyvale–Santa Clara, CA 59 10,256
Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos, TX 49 2,460
Boston–Cambridge–Quincy, MA–NH 46 4,537
Portland–Vancouver–Hillsboro, OR–WA 40 1,753
Large but not on the high-growth list:
New York City–northern Nw Jersey–Long Island, NY–NJ–PA 14 6,252
Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana, CA 33 5,154