Sunday, March 30, 2008

U.S. Patent Counts, Q1 2008

The USPTO published a record-breaking 77,962 patent applications (A docs) in Q1, an 11 percent increase over the same quarter last year. This was a strong rebound from the 73,450 A docs published in Q4 2007. Approximately 1.7 million plant and utilty patent applications have been published since 2001.

The USPTO's new emphasis on quality over quantity appears to be working. Issued patents (utility, plant, design and reissue) declined 8 percent from last year, dropping to 43,657, the lowest count in more than two years. The number of statutory invention registrations (SIRs) also continued to decline; only four were registered in Q1. SIRs are a form of defensive publication that was established in 1985. Their purpose was diminished somewhat when the USPTO began publishing applications in March 2001.

There's still no sign that the USPTO has implemented series code 12 for incoming patent applications. The most recent A docs filed in early December 2007 have serial numbers in the 950,000s, suggesting that the current series has enough numbers to last through the end of the year. It's possible that the USPTO may start the new series on January 1, which was the practice for many decades. The 10th series began on October 24, 2001 and the 11th series on December 1, 2004.

Table 1. Quaterly Patent and PGPub Counts*

Qn ..... Patents .....PGPubs ..... Total
Q1 ..... 43,657 ..... 77,962 ..... 121,619

*Based on preliminary weekly data from the USPTO website. Totals may change after the fact due to withdrawn patents and published applications.

Table 2. Weekly Averages and Medians (Q1)

Patents ..... 3,406 ..... 3,755
PGPubs ..... 5,997 ..... 5,965

Table 3. Number Ranges for 2008 (Counts)

Patents ..... 7,313,829 - 7,350,238 (36,260)
Reissues ..... RE39,964 - RE40,189 (226)
PGPubs ..... 2008/0000001 - 2007/0078005 (77,962)
Designs ..... D558,426 - D565,275 (6,843)
Plants ..... PP18,373 - PP18,671 (299)
SIRs ..... H2,208 - H2,211 (4)