By Jason Rantanen
I’m getting ready to teach my Fall 2021 Patent Law class, and that means doing an updated patent grant graph. This year’s version shows U.S. utility patents granted per year from 1840-2020:
Data for 2021 isn’t included in the table, but as of July 31, 2021, the authority file contains 195,480 patents. If the pace remains the same, that would predict about 335,000 patents granted this calendar year–around
10% [correction: 6% – 356k minus 335k is 21k, not 31k] lower than 2020 (356,640 granted patents). Looking at the spreadsheets on the Patents Dashboard, it looks like filings are a smidgen lower, but the real difference is the number of allowances: as of the end of June, 2020, the PTO had issued 278k allowances for UPR’s that fiscal year, while as of the end of June, 2021, it had issued 249k allowances for FY 2021.
I used the 2021-07-31 Patent Grant Authority file, parsed it by date, and tabulated the number of A1, B1 and B2 kind code records by year. (For those who might be confused by the use of A1, the authority file uses A1 to indicate pre-2001 utility patent grants). I included patents that are marked as Withdrawn. This graph uses calendar years (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31) instead of fiscal years (Oct 1 to Sept. 30). UPR stands for “utility, plant, reissue.”