Landon IP, a private firm specializing in patent and trademark searches and patent analytics, has launched Intellogist, a free website that aims to help patent searchers locate sources of patent information, evaluate public and commercial patent search systems and exchange best practices in prior art searching. This service will be useful to both novice and experienced patent searchers. The site is supported in part by advertising.
The USPTO has published Classification Order #1886, which affects subclasses in Class 439 - Electrical Connectors. As of April 8, there are approximately 76,000 patents and 17,000 published applications classfied in Class 439, which is the "generic class for a pair of mated conductors comprising at least two electrically conducting elements which are interconnected to permit relative motion of such conducting elements during use without a break in electrical conductivity." The earliest patent in this class is RE200 issued in 1851 to George H. Corlis of Provdence, Rhode Island for an improvement in cut-off values in steam engines.
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 Totals may change after the fact due to withdrawn patents and published applications.
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.