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U.S. Patent count hits 10,000,000. How many are still in effect?

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On June 19, 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued U.S. Patent No. 10,000,000.

U.S. patents have been numbered consecutively since 1836, although the U.S. government has been issuing patents since 1790. U.S. patents are being granted at an ever increasing rate which is evidenced by the consistently shorter periods that it takes to issue a million patents. U.S. Patent No. 9,000,000 was issued in April 2015, just a little over three years before No. 10,000,000 was issued. Before that, U.S. Patent No. 8,000,000 was issued in 2011, about four years earlier.

In comparison, U.S. Patent No. 7,000,000 was issued in 2006 which was about five years earlier than No. 8,000,000. U.S. Patent No. 6,000,000 was issued in 1999, about 7 years earlier, and U.S. Patent No. 5,000,000 was issued in 1991, about 8 years earlier. Before that, U.S. Patent No. 4,000,000 was issued in 1976 and U.S. Patent No. 3,000,000 was issued in 1961, so that one million patents were issued in each of two approximately equal 15-year periods.

U.S. Patent No. 2,000,000 was issued in 1935, 26 years earlier. U.S. Patent No. 1,000,000 was issued in 1911, 24 years earlier. The first million U.S. patents thus issued over a period of 75 years, from 1836 to 1911.

Due to the ever quickening pace of patent issuance, it is estimated that approximately one-third of all U.S. patents ever granted are still in force.

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