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U.S. patent activity increased in 2009, after two years of reduced activity, according to statistics from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). U.S. applicants were awarded 95,037 patents in 2009, up from 92,001 in 2008. Last year marked a return to the patenting levels of the early part of the decade, though in 2006 the country had hit an anomalous all-time high with 102,267 patents.

About a quarter (24.6 percent) of all U.S. patent activity in 2009 occurred in California, a share that has grown steadily over the past 15 years. Californians were issued 23,354 patents last year, up from 22,203 in 2009. Other top states include Texas (6,436 patents), New York (6,127), Washington (4,856) and Massachusetts (4,038). Together, the top five states produced 46 percent of all U.S. patents. Japan received the highest number of U.S patents of any foreign country with 38,066 patents in 2009.

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