Did you ever wonder which companies file the most patent applications in the United States? Every year the United States Patent and Trademark Office publishes a Performance and Accountability Report.
Each report breaks down many different categories of statistics regarding patents.
The UPTO reported that there were 305,840 patents allowed and 565,566 additional patent applications were filed in 2012.
IBM received the most patents in 2012. Here’s a chart of the top 10 companies that were issued patents in the United States in 2012:
One of the things inventors are always interested about is “how long does it take to get a patent?” Well that all depends on how fast the examiner is going to get to your application. The total workload of all patent examiners has increased every year for the last 20 years.
As can be seen from the graph below the total number of pending applications in the United States goes up every year. There are currently 1,157,147 applications pending in the United States and of those applications 633,812 are currently untouched and waiting to be examined. And examiners can’t seem to catch up!
But statistics may show otherwise, the trend of applications awaiting action by examiners is starting to turn down (see blue line in chart below). Which I believe is an indication that the time it takes to receive a patent is decreasing because of the increased number of examiners along with the increased overall efficiency of the patent office.
But there remains a huge gap between total applications pending and applications acted upon.
And the patent office still runs a cumbersome bureaucratic system that even with all the patent reform has a way to go.
What does this all mean as far as how long it will take to get a patent?
Instead of waiting 25 months for a first office action an inventor might get their application looked at in 22 months. It doesn’t seem like a lot but it is moving in the right direction.