Vermont, California and Idaho were among the 10 states with the most patent activity in 2011, according to the State Entrepreneurship Index by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Here's what's triggering the innovation.
DuPont EcoConcept is a patented ecofriendly system that allows auto manufacturers to eliminate an entire coat in the painting process.
Patents per thousand residents: 1.97
Per capita, Delaware is full of Ph.Ds.
Alan Levin, cabinet secretary of the Delaware Economic Development Office, attributes that to the University of Delaware's engineering school and the state's proximity to Philadelphia's top universities.
Inventors are also boosted by the fact that the state is nearly equidistant between New York and Washington -- the nation's financial and government centers.
Big corporate patent centers include DuPont(DD),AstraZeneca(AZN) and Incyte(INCY).