The USPTO released its annual report for FY2008 and the numbers are staggering.
According to preliminary statistics, inventors filed a record-breaking 495,095 applications from Oct. 1, 2007-Sept. 30, 2008. This is a 5.7 percent increase over FY2007. Interestingly, there was a 33.7 percent increase in plant patent applications from 1,002 to 1,340. Design and utility applications increased about 5 percent. There basically no change in the number of reissue applications.
The number of applications pending has increased to 1,208,076, an 8.6 percent increase from last year. Pendency for UPR applications is 32.2 months. The highest pendency is 43.6 months in the Communications Technology Centre.
Issued patents dropped slightly to 182,556, keeping in line with the USPTO's drive to improve patent quality through more rigorous examination practices. Published applications increased to 309,194, a 2.2 percent increase. There was a big jump (25 precent) in the number of abandoned applications, suggesting perhaps that applicants are giving up on weaker applications. A total of 208,610 applications were abandoned as opposed to 166,000 last year.
The USPTO also hired another 600 patent examiners in FY2008. The total number of examiners is now 6,055. In 2004, the Patent Examing Corps numbered 3,753.