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.
Tech company Micron Technology is a key driver of patents in Idaho.
Patents per thousand residents: 2.77
Robust technology, semiconductor and bioagriculture industries drive Idaho's patent activity.
The state is home to tech giant Micron Technology(MU) and the Idaho National Laboratory, which is a research and engineering facility owned by the Department of Energy.
"Lately we're seeing clusters of new tech startups that have branched out of the National Lab and the big tech companies here," said Clark Krause, executive director of the Boise Valley Economic Partnership.
The Boise region, which hosts a large Hewlett-Packard(HPQ) plant, is among the top 20 U.S. metro regions for most patents.