By Jason Rantanen
I’m preparing to teach my fall 2021 patent law course which means creating an updated patent grant chart. This year’s version shows the U.S. utility patents granted each year from 1840 to 2020:
Data for 2021 is not 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 around 335,000 granted patents this calendar year – roughly
ten% [correction: 6% – 356k minus 335k is 21k, not 31k] less than 2020 (356,640 patents issued). Looking at the spreadsheets on the patent dashboard, it looks like the filings are a bit lower, but the real difference is in the number of grants: by the end of June 2020, the PTO had issued 278,000 grants for the UPRs for this fiscal year, while at the end of June 2021, it had issued 249,000 allowances for fiscal year 2021.
I used the 2021-07-31 Patent Grant Authority file, analyzed it by date, and compiled the number of A1, B1, and B2 gender code records per year. (For those who might be confused by the use of A1, the authority file uses A1 to indicate utility patents before 2001). I have included patents marked as withdrawn. This chart uses calendar years (January 1 to December 31) instead of fiscal years (October 1 to September 30). UPR stands for “utility, plant, reissue”.