Tuesday, May 28, 2013, 9:04 AM

Millions of US Patents, Follow-Up

Concerning the earliest US issued patents, alert readers David Kline and Alvin Thomas inform us that the actual first US patent was issued in 1790, and that patents were not numbered until 1836, beginning with the Ruggles patent.  A “Table of Annual US Patent Activity since 1790”, published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office details the progression of US patent applications and US issued patents for each year up to the present.  In calendar year 2012, there were 542,815 utility patent applications, 32,799 design patent applications, and 1149 plant patent applications.  In 2012, the US issued 253,155 utility patents, 21,951 design patents, and 860 plant patents.  Compare this to 1997, when 111,984 US patents issued, and 1999 when 270,187 patents were applied for.  This means the patent volume has doubled in 13 to 15 years (depending upon whether we are looking at patents applied for or issued).

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