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Eating Up a Piece of Spam

We received a piece of spam we enjoyed today. And no, it didn’t come out of a can and go well with eggs.

For a newsgathering organization like ours, “spam” refers not only to the variety of —ahem—enhancement products available to us at low, low prices, but also press releases with seemingly no connection to metalcasting that find their way to our inboxes. This type of spam isn’t necessarily from disreputable sources, but it doesn’t have direct bearing on the industry we cover.

Releases from the U.S. Small Business Administration often fall into this category. But a recent announcement of the administration’s caught our attention. “Small Businesses Are America’s Innovators,” read the headline, with a slightly more telling subhead: “Patents Per Employee Outstrip Those Of Larger Firms.”

Metalcasting facilities, by and large, are small businesses with 50 employees or less. This study called companies with fewer than 500 employees “small firms.” So, most metalcasters would find themselves in the group that is being lauded by this press release. To wit:

“Small firms obtain many more patents per employee than large firms… Small firm patents outperform large firm patents on a number of impact metrics including growth, citation impact, patent originality, and patent generality.”

What’s more, the smaller the firm is, the more patents per employee it churns out. Metalcasters would seem to be in this praiseworthy group again:

“Even within the small firm domain, companies with fewer than 25 employees will have a higher patent-to-employee ratio on average than firms with 50 employees, which will in turn have a higher patent-to-employee ratio than firms with 100 employees, and so on.”

But before we get ahead of ourselves, remember that spam can have a bad aftertaste. Let’s look at the breakdown of patents within the NAICS codes. The one under which metalcasting falls (331-Primary Metal) accounts for 0% of the patents within the manufacturing NAICS codes.

This is not to say that metalcasters aren’t innovators, but they are certainly not receiving many patents for their innovations. MODERN CASTING has been hammering this point recently, as well.

So check out the Small Business Administration’s inspiring report (cruise their interesting site while you’re at it), get out there and start receiving credit for your innovations.