The USPTO issued 2,512 patents and published 5,059 applications the week of December 18 and issued 3,049 patents and published 5,796 applications the week of December 25, the final week of 2005.* The sharp drop in the number of issued patents that began on October 1 continued throughout the fall; only 33,637 patents were issued in the fourth quarter, a 19 percent drop from the third quarter. The number of published applications was relatively stable; the total for the fourth quarter was 72,651, a .5 percent increase over the previous quarter.
*Based on preliminary data from the USPTO web site.
I'm the librarian for research services in the Engineering and Science Library at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. I've been working with patent information since 1991, including seven years at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I believe that the dissemination of patent information is a public good and should be promoted, especially in the education of science and engineering students.