I’ve written about it before, how the patent process is fast approaching spam levels. We now have offensive patents (offensive in more ways than intended), defensive patents, speculative patents, frivolous patents, even downright fraudulent ones.
The New Scientist informed me that:
100 patents are issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office every working hour, overstretching staff there, Congress heard last week
So I thought I’d check on precisely what the USPTO guys told Congress. Here’s a quote:
Patent examiners completed 332,000 patent applications in 2006, the largest number ever, while achieving the lowest patent allowance error rate — 3.5% — in over 20 years. At 54%, the patent allowance rate also was the lowest on record. Patent allowance rate is the percentage of applications reviewed by examiners that are approved. The agency also processed a record number of trademark applications in 2006. USPTO trademark examining attorneys took final action on 378,111 trademark applications, a 36% increase over the previous year, and achieved a record low final action error rate, with mistakes found in only 3.6% of the trademark applications reviewed in FY 2006.
Maybe it’s time to publish lists of the top 10 patent applicants by volume; we publish car emissions and gas consumption, so why not do this?