Interesting sideline results from some empirical work that I’m doing:
In 2001, the PTO began publishing patent applications 18 months after filing unless the applicant filed a nonpublication request. To date, more than 1.2 million pending applications have been published. Of the first 100 published applications, 73 applications have issued as patents and 27 were abandoned. None of the originally filed applications are still pending, and only one of the abandoned application still has a pending continuation. 19 of the abandoned applications have at least one family-member that is an issued patent. Thus, leaving only 8 that are “fully dead” (i.e., with no known issued patents or pending family members).