A lot has been said for the increased number of references being submitted to patent examiners. It is true that the average number of references submitted per application continues to skyrocket and for patents issued in 2015 that average number is 40 references. However, the average is skewed by a relatively small number of applications with an unusually large number of references cited.
If we look at the median case — the number of references remains reasonable. The chart below shows the median number of references submitted by patentees – grouped according to patent issue year. 1 out of every 6 recently issued patents included no prior art submissions by the patentee.