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USPTO Issues 8,000,000th Patent 108

toybuilder writes "It took nearly 80 years for the first 1 million patents to issue in the U.S. On Tuesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued its eight-millionth patent. This most recent 1 million patents took only about 5 years."
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USPTO Issues 8,000,000th Patent

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  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @09:55AM (#37118590)

    Or most technological advances will not improve life on this planet.

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      Only that they won't be available in the US.

      But how many of the granted patents are useful in reality?

      • If the patents aren't of any use, then why are they filed? All that's doing is overloading the patent office with work, to prevent them from doing proper review on meaningful patents.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This most recent 1 million patents took only about 5 years.

    So, that means there's more technology being invented which should boost the economy and get us closer to a World like in Star Trek? Right?

    All those patents are useful and unique - right?

    • by Stellian ( 673475 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @10:11AM (#37118736)

      All those patents are useful and unique - right?

      Right. According to IP industry insiders, what we need is a Patent Stimulus to end the recession []

      The nice thing about this Patent Stimulus Plan is that it will cost only a small fraction of the amount of money we have already wasted on failed economic stimulus. What we need to do is have President Obama issue an Executive Order directing the Patent Office to start allowing patents. A 42% allowance rate during the first quarter of 2009 is wholly unacceptable. So while you are at it President Obama, order the Patent Office to issue a patent UNLESS there is a reason to deny it.

      • by mcvos ( 645701 )

        It would be so awesome if the Patent Office every patent when there's a good reason to do so. Unfortunately they just don't seem to check them.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

          It would also be awesome (as in amazing, unbelievable) if you would your verbs.

        • by mcvos ( 645701 )

          It would be so awesome if the Patent Office denied every patent when there's a good reason to do so. Unfortunately they just don't seem to check them.

    • by jo42 ( 227475 )

      1 million patents took only about 5 years

      1 million brain farts in 5 years, world economy is in the crapper, the rich are richer, the poor are poorer, and the guy in the middle is bent over even more (without any lube). So we must conclude that more patents means being worse off for the majority of humanity. Something be wrong here people...

    • by dmdavis ( 949140 )
      # cat patents | wc -l 8000000000 # cat patents | sort | uniq | wc -l 96
      • by dmdavis ( 949140 )
        Ah, so, preview. That's helpful, I hear.

        # cat patents | wc -l
        # cat patents | sort | uniq | wc -l
  • Geordi's visor? (Score:4, Informative)

    by cashman73 ( 855518 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @09:56AM (#37118606) Journal
    So essentially, US patent #8,000,000 is more or less a very, very early version of Lt. Commander Geordi LaForge's visor. We have a long way to go.
    • Of the million's of major technical issues in building Geordi's visor, Patent #8,000,000 is about automatically turning off Geordi's visor when it isn't being worn.

      Despite the fact that almost every portable device has sophisticated software systems to automatically power down any unneeded subsystems, they patented automatic power down when "an error is detected". This patent is a great example of what is wrong with the U.S. patent system. Almost every new RF and power distribution standard comes with au

  • I would assume that patents are in some way related to the commercial value of technology. Otherwise there wouldn't be the money to do all this patenting.

    Thus this report is a good thing.

    What to do about it?

    1. Monetize it. Increase fees of all sorts.
    2. Use the income to improve the system. Better prior art searching for example. Better examiners.

    • Re:So? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @10:26AM (#37118906)

      The patent system is already quite expensive for the small businesses. The PTO office isn't so bad, but to come up with a any decent patent that will make it through, you need to hire a patent lawyer which will cost in the $300 to $500 an hour range. I just went through it and it's excruciatingly painful and expensive.

      Then there is this:

  • Sue! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @10:00AM (#37118630)

    Oddly, it was a patent for a method of issuing patents given to a small legal firm, who then filed a lawsuit against the Patent Office.

  • That's a lot of innovation!

  • patent a process for filing patents!

  • 1. If I ever invent something original, I wont own it - because I can't afford to patent it.
    2. If someone actually has some world shattering amazing break through which could change the world - but they are not wealthy, that secret will go to the grave with them.

    Go innovation... yippie.

    PS: I fit into both categories, and I'm taking the goods to the grave.

    • Well, if you're resigned to not make money off it anyways, why not attempt to write it up in a different form and publish it under the GPL or a similarly sticky open license; or publish under the creative commons?

      You'll still not make money off it, but it'll be wide open in the public domain, available for everyone to pick up and improve the world with it, and unable to be locked in a corporate vault.

      • Because with 8,000,000 patents on the books, the chances are someone already has some patent out there that's vague enough to cover your invention (with a creative interpretation and the lawyers to make it stick) without having done any actual work, and they'll just sue everyone who goes near it.
  • by black soap ( 2201626 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @10:13AM (#37118758)
    This was patent #8,000,000, or the 8,000,000th numbered patent. before the 1830s, patents were issued but not given numbers. I choose to be pedantic, rather than think about the travesty that our patent law has become - I'll leave that to someone else just this once.
  • It's to make tires more puncture resistant. Akron Ohio, must be Goodyear or an ex Goodyear employee?

    We may not like the patent system but this one at least isn't a frivolous one for excercising your cat with a fricken laser beam! []

  • Method for putting spoon in mouth...
  • the 8,000,0000 patent was only the 10,000 for hyperlinking.

  • My grandpa got several patents in the 1940's, back when a patent actually meant something other than a method and system for trolls to screw over real innovators :-P FU USPO
    • by c0lo ( 1497653 )

      My grandpa got several patents in the 1940's, back when a patent actually meant something other than a method and system for trolls to screw over real innovators :-P FU USPO

      I don't quite understand why some achievement of one's ancestors is a reason to make one proud.

      Somebody said it better, just Google for "ancestry Samuel Butler" []

  • by Anonymous Coward

    1. Make patent applications progressively expensive (with a reasonable cap), while keeping the first one affordable to independent inventors.

    2. Do the same for fees keeping patents alive.

    3. Use most of the extra income to allow each patent examiner more time per application.

    4. Use some of the extra income to help independent inventors who can't afford paying a good IP lawyer $10,000+ per application.

    BTW, the purpose of a patent is to allow the inventor a temporary monopoly in exchange for publicly discl

    • What we need to do is go back to the system where the USPTO is primarily funded by the government and ensure that there's sufficient funding to properly review every application. If bullshit patents start being denied with regularity a lot of the bullshit applications will stop being submitted.

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @10:38AM (#37119030)

    "Eighth-million patent" -> "eight millionth patent"

    Yeesh - true geeks would say the editor's off by a factor of 2^5.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Most patents are completely ridiculous these days. In addition to that patents only serve to hamper innovation.

    It's completely ridiculous to own an idea; somebody else might have the same idea at the same time, introducing actual competition. It also helps in creating monopolies and serves to strangle the market.

  • Considering how often high profile patents wind up getting overturned or narrowed on reexamination I propose that the front line of examiners of first instance that are simply rubber stamping everything that comes across their desk are either overworked or incompetent or both.

    The fact that many of them are getting overturned later, either in court or on reexam, is strong evidence if not outright proof that most of them never should have been issued in the first place.

    The USPTO needs to stop issuing bullshit

  • 8,000,000 government issued patents is 8,000,000 more ways in which innovation in the economy is stifled. That's 8,000,000 ways to prevent people from attempting at bringing products to the market. That's 8,000,000 ways multiplied by each claim in each one of those patents, multiplied by the number of patent lawyers around to start lawsuits, which do nothing to improve anything in economy.

    That's 8,000,000 ways in which government prevents wealth from being generated by the public sector. That's 8,000,000 w

  • This kind of acceleration in government can be seen everywhere.

    Compare the sizes of the law books* put out by your state's legislature this year against ten or a hundred years ago.

    I recently had to do some deed research at the County Registrar's office. Documents are organized by "book" and "page" number, for example, a deed will be referred to as "Book 123, Page 456." It took something like two hundred years for New Hampshire to hit book 1000, another 50 or so to hit Book 2000, and only a couple decades to

  • Gee, you would expect that with an entire country full of inventors, who are able to generate patents at such a rate that we've had a million patents in just the last ten years, that this country would be humming along brilliantly with a strong economy, and lots of people working on bringing those inventions to market.

    But the sad state of affairs is that most of those million patents are for things which already exist with the words "on the internet" tagged onto the end.

    "Method and Practice for Taking a Dum

    • by Surt ( 22457 )

      We have a pretty strong economy, actually. The strongest on the planet. It's just not as strong as people would like it to be, or imagine it could be, if only X had been handled differently.

  • A few million patents here, a few million patents there, and pretty soon it is a real patent portfolio!
  • Am I correct in estimating that approximately 60% of these have expired and are now in the public domain?

  • It took nearly 80 years for the first 1 million patents to issue in the U.S. This most recent 1 million patents took only about 5 years.

    And the average population of the US from 1790 (when the first patent was issued) to 1870 was around 15 million. Now it's around 300 million.

    So... For the USA's first 80 years, we had 1/16th the patent rate of today, but 1/20th the population.

    Is this, then, a story about how patent rates are declining?

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      only if you patent choosing the stats like you want. 1980-1990 the population levels weren't that different from now.

  • Nothing like doing our best to halt all innovation in the U.S.
  • Well, at least it wasn't a patent for a linked-list. Oh wait, that's number: 7028023.
    • They probably shuffled around the order they were granting/denying them in, so that they had a slightly less embarrassing patent for the milestone number.

  • Let's see a quick history of inventions over time, one million at a time:

    • 7M (2006): Polysaccharide fibers
    • 6M (1999): Extendible method and apparatus for synchronizing multiple files on two different computer systems
    • 5M (1991): Ethanol production by Escherichia coli strains co-expressing Zymomonas PDC and ADH genes
    • 4M (1976): Process for recycling asphalt-aggregate compositions
    • 3M (1961): Automatic reading system
    • 2M (1935): Vehicle wheel construction
    • 1M (1911): Vehicle-tire

    Interesting to look at an evolution of wh

Forty two.