The number of US patents (B docs) issued in Q1 was 49,227, a 13 percent increase over 2008. However, this may be only a temporary blip. The USPTO's campaign to improve patent quality has increased the number of rejections to a level not seen in several decades. The USPTO's allowance rate at the end of 2008 was about 44.2 percent, a steep decline from 2000 when the allowance rate was 72 percent. And there is a growing belief that the current worldwide recession will cause a 5-10 percent decline in the number of new applications in 2009, which may ultimately lead to fewer issued patents.
The USPTO issued patent no. 7,500,000 on March 3.
The number of published applications (A docs) dipped slightly to 83,855, an 8 percent increase over 2008. Approximately 2,042,000 million plant and utility patent applications have been published since 2001. The two millionth application was published in February.
Table 1. Quarterly Patent and PGPub Counts*
2009 ..... Patents (B) .....PGPubs (A)..... Total (A + B)
Q1 ..... 49,227 ..... 83,855 ..... 133,112
*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 Totals may change after the fact due to withdrawn patents and published applications.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 ..... 3,516 ..... 3,756
PGPubs ..... 6,453 ..... 6,353
Table 3. Number Ranges for 2009
Utility patents ..... 7,472,428 -
Reissues ..... RE40,613 -
PGPubs ..... 2009/0000001 -
Designs ..... D584,026 -
Plants ...... PP19,613 -
SIRs ..... H2,228 -