U.S. Patent Counts, Jan. 1-Apr. 30, 2006

U.S. patent grants in March and April hovered around 4,000 patents per week except for a slight dip the week of March 12. A record-breaking (at least in recent years) 4,365 patents issued on April 25, surpassing published applications by 13. This was the first week in many, many months when the number of issued patents exceeded the number of published applications.

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2 Responses to U.S. Patent Counts, Jan. 1-Apr. 30, 2006

  1. Enro says:

    Concerning the surge of grants on April 25, could it be the consequence of the sudden release of some kind of ‘backlog jam’ (for instance, the first wave of outsourced search reports)? Or is it likely to be simply an unusual outcome of normal operation?

  2. The surge in patent issues in recent weeks is more likely due to internal factors at the PTO. For the first 9 months of 2005 patent issues (utilities, plants, designs and reissues) hovered between 3000-3500 per week. There were a few weeks where the number dropped into the 2700-2999 range. However, on Oct. 4, the first Tuesday of the new fiscal year, the number of patens dropped to 2130 and stayed in the low 2000s for the next 11 weeks. The numbers only started to rise to pre-Oct. levels at the end of January. The influx of 940 new examiners (about 25% of the total patent examining corps) in 2005 might have had something to do with the sudden drop. The PTO is also striving to implement a new patent examiner training program based on a collegial model that is very different from its past practice. The steady outflow of experienced examiners seeking the pleasures of retired life or larger salaries at law firms may also have had an impact.

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