Foreign nationals residing in the United States are steadily making greater contributions to the country’s intellectual property, stirring concern about maintaining the country’s competitiveness and the debate over whether to relax U.S. immigration policy.
Foreign nationals were named in more than half of international patent applications filed from the United States by large corporations. Those include Qualcomm, at 72 percent; Merck, at 65 percent; General Electric, at 64 percent; Siemens, at 63 percent; and Cisco, at 60 percent.
At the other end of the spectrum, foreign nationals were named on 6 percent of General Motors’ patent applications and only 3 percent of Microsoft’s. The U.S. government is among those that benefit from foreign nationals’ brainpower. Some 41 percent of its patent applications list foreign nationals as inventors or co-inventors.