U.S. Patent Milestones

The U.S. patent system is more than two hundred years old. Since 1790, when the first U.S. patent was granted, more than nine million patents have been registered. It took approximately 121 years for the U.S. to reach the one million mark. The intervals between patent milestones have steadily decreased during the past one hundred years. In the early 20th century, it took 24 years for the USPTO to reach the two million mark. The interval between patent no. 8,000,000, issued in August 2011, and patent no. 9,000,000, issued in April 2015, is less than 4 years.

Table 1. Utility Patent Milestones

Utility Patent Year Interval (years)
1 1836
500,000 1893 57
1,000,000 1911 18
1,500,000 1924 13
2,000,000 1935 11
2,500,000 1950 15
3,000,000 1961 11
3,500,000 1970 9
4,000,000 1976 6
4,500,000 1985 9
5,000,000 1991 6
5,500,000 1996 5
6,000,000 1999 3
6,500,000 2002 3
7,000,000 2006 4
7,500,000 2009 3
8,000,000 2011 2
8,500,000 2013 2
9,000,000 2015 2
9,500,000 2016 1

Table 2. Design Patent Milestones

Design Patent Year Interval (years)
1 1842
100,000 1936 94
200,000 1965 29
300,000 1986 21
400,000 1998 12
500,000 2004 6
600,000 2009 5
700,000 2014 5

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