The USPTO published 72,421 patent applications (A docs) in Q3, a 3 percent decrease over the same quarter last year and a 6.78 percent drop from the previous quarter. On October 2, the USPTO published a record-breaking 8,955 patent applications. If these had been counted in Q3, the total would have been a hefty 81,376. The USPTO is on track to publish over 310,000 applications this year. Approximately 1.87 million plant and utilty patent applications have been published since 2001.
The number of issued patents (B docs) in Q3 dropped to 40,869, a 17 percent drop from the previous quarter and a 6 percent decline from the same quarter last year. This was the lowest total in almost three years. Weekly issues remained flat for most of the quarter, dropping precipitously in the second half of September. The USPTO's campaign to hold the line on low quality patents appears to be having an impact on output.
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.