US Utility Patents Granted per Year

by Dennis Crouch

We are about 3/4 of the way through fiscal year 2019 (ends September 30, 2019) and the USPTO is on-track to issue the most patents ever in a single year period — I’m forecasting 330,000 issued utility patents, which is up about 5% from the prior 1-year high in 2017.  This rise is consistent with more patentee-friendly attitude of Andrei Iancu who began his role as Trump’s USPTO director in 2018.


14 thoughts on “US Utility Patents Granted per Year

  1. 4

    It would be interesting to see maintenance fees paid along with this. I’d expect it to be going down.

    1. 4.1

      Interesting point – sort of an “effective number of patents” trend…

      Of course, what would also be interesting would be to see a normalized litigation trend as well. Since “Tr011” was such a “boogeyman,” and this type of post feeds the Tr011 hysteria (so many ‘bad’ patents out there), we should take the (declining as is) straight litigation numbers and normalize them by the number of effectively live patent claims (the possible population from which litigation may arise).

      1. 4.1.1

        … the problem — of course — is that THAT tidbit just does not support a certain specific desired narrative (that patents are ‘bad’).

        So instead of a full and thoughtful piece, we get “chum” like this story, and it is up to readers to note any particular context (for example, we HAVE a patent system to promote innovation, which should lead to more patents, and thus we should expect (and want) more than merely linear growth of patents. Anyone realizing that BOTH sides benefit in your Quid Pro Quo deal should immediately recognize that more patents (per that deal) is ALWAYS a good thing.

        And yes, you will have your rabble who will try to twist this and move the goalposts to a “just hand out patents then, without regard to the Quid Pro Quo,” but that is just mindless noise and attempted obfuscation of the underlying principle as to why we have a patent system in the first place.

    2. 4.2

      I agree maintenance fees and an indication of whether the application was for an invention made in the USA.

    1. 3.1

      Except for facts which indicate a substantial decrease in patents for US invention and per billion dollars of GNP.

  2. 2

    So patents have remained steady–maybe going up this year–for five years despite China massively increasing filings to the USA. These numbers should be a big warning sign for the USA.

    1. 2.1

      Again, my bet is that original US filings will fall by 40% in the next recession.

      Those patent budgets that used to be preserved are now on the chopping block to make the Wall Street numbers. Just talk to some executives.

    2. 2.2

      Notice the way people like Lemley have blurred filings in the US. There should be a distinction between filings in the US where the invention was made in the USA and filings in the USA where the invention was not made in the USA.

      Filings in the USA where the invention was made in the USA have fallen.

      1. 2.2.1

        Would love to see that particular data trend.

        Certain globalists will try to say that such distinctions just do not matter — and they could not be more wrong.

        Such views are in the form of the great L 1 E: a kernel of truth to hide the greater falsehood.

        Patent law has always been and will always be a Sovereign-centric type of law. Certainly, there is a kernel of truth in that innovation anywhere may well engender more innovation anywhere else. Certainly, there is a kernel of truth in that upon the larger stage of Sovereign to Sovereign dealings, our nation has made deals and seeks reciprocity with other nations.

        But only a f001 believes that there is NO national advantage as to where innovation takes place.

        A f00l, or a globalist Big Corp (corporatacracy) shill.

    3. 2.3

      While there are some that will try to discount Sovereign-to-Sovereign analysis (and critical thinking thereof), you raise an excellent point that would be worth an additional graph or two.

      Would love to break down this “global” snapshot into views exploring US-centric filing trends (both with and without multi-nationals being counted as US-centric).

      Those numbers may (or may not) be alarming, but they would provide a much better understanding than the more chum-like “the numbers are up” (as that aspect is so often used as support for the view that “there is nothing wrong with the current state of patent law.”

    4. 2.4

      Quantity is not everything.Let’s not lose sight of quality.

      I mean, Applicants do not file outside their home jurisdiction on everything they file first at their home Patent Office. Consider China. The number of filings at the USPTO by Chinese entities is a tiny fraction of their domestic filing numbers. How much “quality” is there within their USPTO portfolio? On average, is it any higher than that of US-domestic filings?

      Then there is the issue of patent families. When for a US client I prosecute a case at the EPO I am often impressed by how many members of the patent family are at the USPTO. Typically ten or more, compared with one, two or at most three at any other Patent Office round the world. I doubt that Chinese entities at the USPTO file quite so many continuation applications. How much does that skew the stats?

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