In the first quarter of 2011 the USPTO issued 62,132 patents, an increase of 1.7 percent from the previous quarter and 11.9 percent from the same period last year. The number of published applications declined by 4 percent from the previous quarter and was essentially unchanged from a year ago.
The USPTO is fast approaching its 8 millionth utility patent, which is likely to be issued in the second half of the year, probably in August. Patent 7,000,000, for a new type of polysaccharide fiber, was issued five years ago on February 14, 2006 to Dupont.
Patent No. 6,000,000 was granted on December 7, 1999 to inventors Jeff Hawkins and Michael Albanese. Their invention was a system for synchronizing files on two computers, the core technology of the Palm Pilot PDA, the first commercially successful hand-held electronic organizer. Palm was purchased by H-P for about $1.2 billion in 2010.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the first published patent application on March 15, 2001. Since that date the USPTO has published approximately 2,706,056 utility and plant patent applications. Published applications now account for about 30 percent of all U.S. patent documents.
Table 1. Quarterly Patent Document Counts*
2011 ..... Patents (B) ..... PGPubs (A) ..... Total (A + B)
Q1 ..... 62,132 ..... 78,481 ..... 140,613
*Based on preliminary weekly data from the USPTO website. Totals may change after the fact due to withdrawn patents and published applications.
Table 2. Number Ranges, Jan. 1 through Mar. 31, 2011
Utility patents ..... 7,861,317 - 7,917,966 (56,331)
Reissues ..... RE42,020 - RE42,264 (243)
PGPubs ..... 2011/0000001 - 2011/0078,838 (78,481)
Designs ..... D629,996 - D635,325 (5,326)
Plants ...... PP20,816 - PP21,833 (18)
SIRs ..... H2,251-H2,252 (2)