I looked at the filing and issued dates of 15,000 utility patents issued in April and May of 2008 and created a statistic "Months in Prosecution." To create a histogram, I rounded up to the nearest whole month to plot the chart. The median time in prosecution is 39.5 months while the average is 41.8 months. This graph lumps together all the utility patents – A serious consideration of this data needs to separate out at least two major factors in the applicant's control that have a large impact the time in prosecution: (1) Is the application a continuation application or a new "original" application? As a general matter, continuation applications issue much more rapidly do than original applications. (2) What is the area of technology of the invention? The PTO examiner corps is divided by area of technology. Some have a large backlog of cases waiting prosecution while others have very few.