51 thoughts on “How Many Patents Issued in 2019?

  1. 6

    How Many Patents will be successful in reaching the market, soon after issue?!
    How Many Patents will be reaching the market before the patent protection ends?!
    How Many Patents will stay on paper, and may be reinvented in the future?
    How Many Patents are actually not worth registration?

    If you know, please let me know.

    Thanks

  2. 5

    Everything which can be invented has been invented.

  3. 4

    OT, but even Gene’s blog today projects as dead the status of the various stand-alone patent bills that have been proposed by certain members of Congress in 2019.

  4. 3

    If you are tending data, can you show the tech centers with the most (and least) growth?

    1. 3.1

      “tending” => “trending”

  5. 2

    How to square these great increases in 2019 and this decade’s issued U.S. patents [even though application backlogs had already been greatly reduced] with commentators here and on Gene’s blog insisting that application filings have greatly decreased due to Sup. Ct. patent law decisions and the AIA?

    1. 2.1

      The foreign filings have made up the difference. It is not just commenters making these claims. We have cited to many publications that show applications for inventions made in the USA have fallen. Also there was papers showing that the largest patent filers in the US have reduced their number of filings by like 15%.

    2. 2.2

      I think it is a combination of habit and lack of education. Of the thousands of inventors I interact with, over 95% of them still believe a patent gives them the exclusive right to their invention and do not know that the USPTO will likely take back their patent if they ever try to use it.

      1. 2.2.1

        That may be partially true Josh, but also the fact remains that most inventions [other than some software-related inventions, some chemical processes, etc.] are not legally protectable any way other than by patents.

      2. 2.2.2

        Josh,

        It is absolutely the wrong lesson to “just quit.”

        That’s exactly what the Efficient Infringers want.

    3. 2.3

      It is a commonplace in the financial press to pick almost any financial figure (total outstanding mortgage debt, aggregate value of all stocks traded on the NASDAQ, tax receipts collected on unrefined cotton lint, etc) and announce that this figure “hit an all-time record this year.” The trick to this journalistic chestnut is to report the time-series in nominal dollars (i.e., not adjusted for inflation over time). Needless to say, this makes for a good headline but a dud of a story.

      Without wishing to detract from the value of the work that Prof Crouch has done here, it is not clear to me that we can really draw the sort of conclusion that you are trying to draw here, Paul, just from this time series. If the total number of US patents granted is going up, but the number per worldwide working age person is going down, that observation would actually be more consistent with a doom-&-gloom story than with an everything-is-fine story. We do not have the info needed to know whether the Cassandras or the Polyannas have the right of it.

      1. 2.3.1

        Doom and gloom because … why?

        1. 2.3.1.1

          … because…

          … cognitive dissonance…?

      2. 2.3.2

        Probably the best indication that there is a problem is that the largest patent filers are corporations that are growing but are reducing the number of patent application.s

        1. 2.3.2.1

          Not following that point.

          If indeed the largest filers are reducing AND the overall is growing, that means that NEW “blood” is more and more buying in — by any measure, that would be a good thing.

          1. 2.3.2.1.1

            ?? The number of patent applications for US inventions is not growing.

            1. 2.3.2.1.1.1

              Just following a quick rabbit trail starting with the USPTO, and leading to:

              link to poseidon01.ssrn.com

              Indicates that applications ARE growing.

              I seem to recall a more direct page at the USPTO, but could not put my fingers on it (somewhat limited as I am currently traveling).

              Do you have a link showing that applications have remarkably dropped?

            2. 2.3.2.1.1.2

              … and yes, there IS foreign growth — but that alone does not mean that US is shrinking — both may still be growing, but US growing at a slower pace.

              1. 2.3.2.1.1.2.1

                We have been through these numbers. And yes the number of applications for US inventions is decreasing. The number of US applications is growing from inventions made in another country and filed in the US.

                What is happening is that more and more applications are not claiming foreign priority and those are counting in these numbers.

                I went though this a few weeks ago on here with all the references.

                1. As I recall from that past dialogue is that you did NOT establish the facts as you espouse.

                  As I recall, there was a dip, but that dip was de minimus.

                  You then projected that a next recession would see a huge drop — but that was not hard and fast data, and merely was a projection. Certainly, such a projection may come true, but that is NOT vouching for your current claims.

                  (part of the problem as we discussed was the lack of granularity in the data — and how I wanted to discount large international firm filings, but we just don’t have that granularity to do so.

                2. We have been through these numbers. And yes the number of applications for US inventions is decreasing.

                  Right, that much is clear from comparing Table A19 in the 2019 WIPO statistics to the same table in the 2018 WIPO statistics. The part that is not clear to me is why anyone (other than U.S. patent attorneys) should care about this point? If the total amount of innovation worldwide continues to increase, our lives will continue to improve—even if the share of that innovation that comes from the U.S. declines.

                  What is the worry here (except, perhaps, that some number of the least able U.S. patent attorneys will have to find a different line of work)?

                3. Greg’s point of view is truly asinine (and a clear output of a Big Pharma taint).

                  Patent law has always been — and will always be — a Sovereign-centric law.

                  Sure, we engage in treaties for reciprocity, but the bottom line effect was, is, and ever shall be: how can we use this level to make OUR Sovereign better.

                  It is also been shown in innovation studies that where leading innovation goes, follow-on innovation often follows. And this IS a geo/political notion.

                  Those — like Greg — that take an Alfred E. Neuman view of where in the world innovation is occurring (and it does not matter where) are delusional and should NOT be listened to in their advocacy.

                4. Thanks Greg for the cites.

                  I think we should care where the innovation is coming from for no other reason is that the USA is what we are responsible for. This is our garden that we are supposed to be tending. I am fine with other gardens blossoming, but we should ensure our garden is doing well.

                5. This is our garden that we are supposed to be tending. I am fine with other gardens blossoming, but we should ensure our garden is doing well.

                  This is a perfectly sensible response. I would like to note, however, that I am not seeing much cause for alarm about a withering garden in these data. Even though the U.S.’s 2019 numbers are lower than its 2018 numbers, we are talking about 285,095 applications in 2019 compared to 293,904 applications in 2018. That is a ~3% decline YOY, and still leaves us as one of the most patent-filing nations on earth.

                  By comparison, Japan also declined (260,290 apps in 2018 compared to 253,630 in 2019, or a ~2.5% YOY decline), while Korea grew (159,084 in 2018, 162,561 in 2019, ~2.2% YOY growth) and China grew (1,246,837 in 2018, 1,395,394 in 2019, ~12% YOY growth). In other words, in this snapshot-in-time analysis, some totals are growing and some shrinking, but (except for China, which is a genuine outlier) none by very much. Our “garden” is still “blooming” abundantly and the decline in “blooms” is quite small.

                  One final point—patent application quantity is not everything. There is definitely a point on which “quality” counts. If Italy files ten patents on new chewing gum varieties, and we file one patent on new wireless communication technology, that one is still likely worth more than the ten put together. WIPO’s “count ’em all up” approach cannot make that sort of distinction, however.

                  There is really no cause for alarm (at least not yet) in these numbers. The U.S. still compares quite favorably to peer nations, innovation-wise.

      3. 2.3.3

        “If the total number of US patents granted is going up, but the number per worldwide working age person is going down, that observation would actually be more consistent with a doom-&-gloom story than with an everything-is-fine story”

        Why would population growth in africa etc. be an indicator of doom and gloom? Are you rac ist?

    4. 2.4

      I also think attorneys are misrepresenting the law to unsophisticated applicants. Inventors continue to be told that a patent is a property right and is the exclusive right to their invention, which is contrary to Supreme Court precedent. Additionally, attorneys do not disclose to the client that the USPTO can revoke the patent, and have done so in 84% of their 2,500 decisions under the America Invents Act. Attorneys do not warrant their work, and in fact profit hundreds of thousands of dollars whether they win or lose the IPR. The invention promoters have been joined by the patent bar and the USPTO in a massive fraud against unwary inventors. Judging by this report it is an grotesquely effective and lucrative scam.

      1. 2.4.1

        Re: “..the USPTO can revoke the patent, and have done so in 84% of their 2,500 decisions under the America Invents Act.”
        2020 has hardly started and the Patent Pinocchio contest has already started.

        1. 2.4.1.1

          Which of the two values you quoted do you dispute?

          1. 2.4.1.1.1

            Revoking and revoking (entire) patents are two very different things Josh.

            Hyperbole is not always useful.

            1. 2.4.1.1.1.1

              (“Claims” should follow the first use of “revoking” above)

            2. 2.4.1.1.1.2

              Got it. Clarification –

              …attorneys do not disclose to the client that the USPTO can revoke the patent, and has cancelled one or more claims in 84% of the 2,500 patents they have reviewed under the America Invents Act.

              1. 2.4.1.1.1.2.1

                2500 patents reviewed, total, by PTAB is a number that is utterly dwarfed by the number of patents issued every year. Is your experience truly representative of what most patent owners are going to face?

                1. “2500 patents reviewed, total, by PTAB is a number that is utterly dwarfed by the number of patents”

                  Yeah I know right? I feel for Josh, trying to invent in an “art” that isn’t really an old school “useful art” but more of an “amusement art”. Oldschool useful art patents I would bet have an even tinier percentage of going down in the PTAB.

                2. You are correct. Most patents do not cover commercially valuable inventions so they are not infringed or IPR’d. Those inventors paid $10,000+ for a sham insurance policy.

                  My experience is normal for valuable inventions, except for the fact that I survived. Few can.

                3. ” Most patents do not cover commercially valuable inventions so they are not infringed or IPR’d. Those inventors paid $10,000+ for a sham insurance policy.”

                  Mmmm, yeah idk about that. If their tech didn’t become commercially relevant that isn’t a “sham” lulz. Many many attorneys (if not nearly all nowadays) are 100% honest with telling their clients (esp small scale guys) that the odds are ridic against them even covering a commercially relevant tech. Gene for instance, cheerleader of the “bad guys” so to speak, is 100% honest about this for his clients it appears to me.

                  “My experience is normal for valuable inventions, except for the fact that I survived. Few can.”

                  Brother there ain’t no reason to believe that making money was going to be ez. The gubmit is not some “magic”. I sympathize for you wanting patents to be more solid, indeed, I myself would likely clean up a few aspects of PTAB proceedings. And I would also probably do a few other things that would tidy the system up for you some. But the fact of the matter is that the patent system itself is poorly designed, from the outset, to do the job you’re wanting it to do. Allow someone with AN IDEA!!!!11!!! and little to no money to stand against a hugely powerful industry or single corp. Lulz. The gubmit is not a magic power balancer. The power imbalance is itself resulting from gigantic corps is an issue to be discussed at length, and what type of society you want etc. are all good separate topics but the gubmit is no magic against such, indeed, it is the cause of much of that.

                4. 84% of patents that are reviewed by the PTAB have at least one claim invalidated. 2,534 patents have been reviewed. 4,129 have been petitioned but did not receive a final written decision. I don’t know if that is good or bad. They are on the same footing as the other 2.5 million patents.

                  We just started a new year, so imagine that in 2020, a total of 5000 IPR petitions are filed. Imagine further that the PTAB denies institution on 4999 of those 5000, but that in the single trial that is instituted, 100% of challenged claims are tanked.

                  I believe that the sane response among patent owners to these hypothetical data would be to conclude “gosh, we have almost nothing to worry from the PTAB.” According to your methodology, however, the conclusion should rather be “OMG, the PTAB is destroying 100% of challenged claims!!!“.

                  Which of these responses to these hypothetical data appears the more rational to you?

              2. 2.4.1.1.1.2.2

                [A]ttorneys do not disclose to the client that the USPTO can revoke the patent, and has cancelled one or more claims in 84% of the 2,500 patents they have reviewed under the America Invents Act.

                Even with that revision, the assertion is still inaccurate. Fully 50% of patents challenged in front of the PTAB emerge with not a single claim adversely affected.

                1. We can say 84% (2,138 ÷ 2,534) of patents that have been reviewed have at least one claim invalidated… All other stats are uninformative.

                  But that stat is not informative. It is misinformative. The patents that are challenged on which the petition is not instituted are just as much “reviewed” by the PTAB as the ones on which a trial is instituted.

                  I take your point about stale data. I also take your point about looking at patents not petitions (although given the comparative scarcity of patents that received any more than one petition, this distinction makes only a slight difference). Still and all, you really have not really come anywhere close to establishing the truth of this asserted “84%” figure. There is no reason yet adduced in this discussion for anyone to believe that the PTAB invalidates claims at anything like that rate.

                1. Also, you are still counting petitions rather than patents. A denied petition plus a FWD invalidating all claims is a 100% invalidation rate. USPTO and Lex Machina analytics do not account for this.

                2. [Y]ou are counting patents without a determination in the denominator.

                  A fair point. Total patent owner wins (i.e., not a single claim adversely affected) sum up to 3468, out of 6992 petitions. If we subtract the undecideds (948+678+354=1980) from the total, we get 5012 (6992-1980=5012). 3468/5012=0.69.19.

                  In other words, your argument grows even weaker if we do the calculations in the manner that you propose. It follows that ~70% of patents that are challenged in an IPR emerge without a single claim affected. This is nothing like 84% receiving a cancellation.

                3. [Y]ou are still counting petitions rather than patents. A denied petition plus a FWD invalidating all claims is a 100% invalidation rate.

                  This is a fair point, but it still does not get you where you are trying to go. Your “84%” figure is limited to only FWDs. A patentee, however, would much rather win at the institution stage than to go all the way to FWD. Meanwhile, among those select patents that are challenged in front of the PTAB, few see more than one petition, and very few see more than 2 petitions. Therefore, the observation about “[a] denied petition plus a FWD invalidating all claims” is too idiosyncratic an example to get you anywhere near to being accurate in your “84%” assertion. This is just agenda-driven statistical balderdash.

                4. No, YOUR numbers are balderdash. (Is that how this works?) Seriously though, we have to start by looking at patents, not petitions. And we need to look at current data as yours is two and half years old.

                  84% of patents that are reviewed by the PTAB have at least one claim invalidated. 2,534 patents have been reviewed. 4,129 have been petitioned but did not receive a final written decision. I don’t know if that is good or bad. They are on the same footing as the other 2.5 million patents.

                  We can say 84% (2,138 ÷ 2,534) of patents that have been reviewed have at least one claim invalidated.

                  We can also say that 0.08% (2,138 ÷ 2,500,000) of patents in existence have at least one claim invalidated by the PTAB.

                  All other stats are uninformative. We are left with experience and anecdotes. I have experience, have read 100+ cases, and have corresponded with 100+ inventors who have been through the PTAB. When I testify about the PTAB I do so with authority.

                5. A “Greg” question for you, Josh:

                  Does 100+ cases of pure anecdote translate to any “data?”

                  Greg appears to be free to limit his acceptance to only those things that “merit” being called data (presumably, by Greg).

    5. 2.5

      Speaking about “squaring,” let’s square the “Oh No Tr011s” trend with litigation data normalized by the total number of claims (against which lawsuits could be generated).

  6. 1

    Innovation begets innovation.

    Is there not a similar curve for computing power improvements?

    1. 1.1

      . . . or foreign-origin filings in the U.S., population growth, etc.

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