Q1 || 47,332 | 74,277 | 121,609 Q2 || 45,828 | 76,640 | 122,468 Q3 || 44,567 | 75,831 | 120,398 Q4 || The third quarter of 2007 was relatively unremarkable with both patents (utility, design reissue and plant) and published applications experiencing a slight decline from the previous quarter. Published applications were down one percent to 75,831 but up a percentage point over the same quarter last year. Patents dropped 2.75 percent to 44,567, which was a decline of 11 percent from Q3 in 2006. Patents averaged about 3,500 per week, virtually unchanged from Q2, with only two weeks below the 3,000 mark. Published applications averaged 5,833 per week, hitting a high for the quarter of 6,595 on August 14. At this rate, the USPTO is on track to break 300,000 for the total number of published applications in a year. Since 2001, the USPTO has published approximately 1.5 million utility and plant patent applications.
In related news, GlaxoSmith filed a last-minute suite in federal court to prevent the USPTO from implementing its new patent rules which, among other things, limit the number of continuation applications an applicant may file. The USPTO hopes the new rules will reduce the number of applications.
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.