The number of issued patents continued to rise through the first three weeks in February, reaching a six-month high of 4,064 on February 21. A patent milestone was reached on February 14: the USPTO issued patent no. 7,000,000. The total number of patents issued in 2006 now stands at 25,032.
Published applications declined from 5,624 on February 2 to 4,862 on February 23. The total number of published applications in 2006 is 41,976, almost twice the number of patents.
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.