U.S. Patent Office Closing in on Patent No. 8,000,000

By Gene Quinn
August 9, 2011

Yesterday the United States Patent and Trademark Office profiled U.S. Patent No. 1,000,000, which was issued on August 8, 1911 to Francis H. Holton of Akron, Ohio for his improvement in vehicle tires, which made them more durable and puncture resistant.

Under the current numbering system for patents, U.S. Patent No. 1 was issued on July 13, 1836 to John Ruggles of Thomaston, Maine for his invention related to the locomotive steam engine.   Therefore, it took just over 75 years to issue 1,000,000 United States patents.  Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is poised to soon issue patent number 8,000,000, perhaps as soon as next week.

Every Tuesday the USPTO issues another batch of patents, and the highest numbered utility patent issued today, August 9, 2011, was U.S. Patent No. 7,996,916, issued to Warner Cockerville et al, and assigned to IGT.  The invention relates to a method of verifying the authenticity of gaming software stored in RAM of a gaming device.




With the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 7,996,916, the USPTO is now just 3,048 patents away from 8 million U.S. patents being issued since 1836, when U.S. Patent No. 1 was issued.  This week the USPTO issued 4,699 utility patents.  This suggests that the 8,000,000 milestone will likely be reached on August 16, 2011, or at the very latest August 23, 2011.

DaimlerChrysler's Crossfire, subject of U.S. Design Patent D500,000

Typically when the USPTO has an important milestone there is some kind of ceremony to commemorate the event.  For example, back in 2005 when the Patent Office issued Design Patent No. D500,000, Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez and Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property Jon Dudas together ceremonially awarded the 500,000th design patent for DaimlerChrysler Corporation’s Crossfire convertible design.

Below is a table showing the milestone U.S. utility patents and how long it took to reach that milestone from the previous milestone.

Issue Date
Years to Milestone
 U.S. Patent No. 1  July 13, 1836  NA
 U.S. Patent No. 1,000,000  August 8, 1911  75 years and 26 days
 U.S. Patent No. 2,000,000  May 12, 1932  20 years, 10 months and 4 days
 U.S. Patent No. 3,000,000  May 6, 1955  22 yeas, 11 months and 25 days
 U.S. Patent No. 4,000,000  December 28, 1976  21 years, 7 months and 22 days
 U.S. Patent No. 5,000,000  March 19, 1991  14 years, 2 months and 9 days
 U.S. Patent No. 6,000,000  December 7, 1999  8 years, 8 months and 19 days
 U.S. Patent No. 7,000,000  February 14, 2006  6 years, 2 months and 7 days
 U.S. Patent No. 8,000,000  Likely August 16, 2011  5 years, 6 months and 2 days

As you can see, after taking over 75 years to go from 1 to 1,000,000, the U.S. patent system averaged about 21 years per million U.S. patents, which lasted from 1911 to 1976.  Then the rate of patenting in the U.S. dramatically increased, which is confirmed by the “years to milestone” column above and the chart below, which shows the tremendous increase in demand of U.S. patents beginning in the 1980s.

This dramatic increase coincides with the forming of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in 1981.  Up until then the overwhelming majority of the Regional Circuit Court of Appeals had never met a patent with valid claims, making obtaining a patent of questionable value.  The Federal Circuit was formed for the express purpose of settling patent laws, creating a single national set of patent laws enforced by a single Court of Appeals.  With this settling of patent laws obtaining a patent became quite valuable because if the innovation were truly new and unique in comparison with the prior art patentees could enforce their rights in court without fear of losing all right, title and interest to the underlying innovations.

So who will be awarded U.S. Patent No. 8,000,000? It is virtually certain that the Patent Office already knows and is gearing up for some kind of celebration. Not that it matters particularly who receives U.S. Patent No. 8,000,000, the rights attached will be identical to U.S. Patent No. 7,999,999 and U.S. Patent No. 8,000,001, and every other patent for that matter. But the entity that receives U.S. Patent 8,000,000 will receive some extra publicity to be sure!

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 16 Comments comments.

  1. Gary August 9, 2011 3:36 pm

    Patent #8,000,000 is already a matter of public record. Somewhere in Public PAIR there is an issue notice with that patent number. Not that we can find it, of course, since Pubic PAIR content isn’t searchable, but for somebody with lots of time on their hands and an affinity for typing in CAPTCHAs, it should be possible to identify the recipient of 8,000,000 today

  2. Mikk August 9, 2011 4:27 pm

    Very interesting, we can start bidding when we will see US Patent No. 9,000,000 🙂

  3. patent leather August 9, 2011 7:45 pm

    Gary, unless #8,000,000 was filed with a nonpub request. I checked all of my firm’s issue notices and it isn’t one of ours!

  4. step back August 10, 2011 6:54 am

    Does the USPTO selectively pick who will be the 8 millionth customer to pass through their checkout line?

  5. Scoot August 10, 2011 11:50 am

    If 9,957 is the best guess for the number of patents that were lost prior to the new numbering system, then #7,990,043 is actually the 8th million patent.

  6. Mark Nowotarski August 10, 2011 1:08 pm

    I dropped 8,000,000 into PAIR and it indicated that the patent will issue August 16

  7. Mark Nowotarski August 10, 2011 1:12 pm

    “but for somebody with lots of time on their hands and an affinity for typing in CAPTCHAs, it should be possible to identify the recipient of 8,000,000 today”

    Sounds like a job for crowdsourcing!

  8. step back August 10, 2011 3:07 pm

    7,996,000 issued yesterday (MANAGING PAGE SIZES FOR A MOBILE DEVICE … 11/537,003 )
    7,997,000 however, is slated for 8/16 according to Public PAIR

    so the new batch … (oops, I see Gene already found the highest of yesterday, 7,996,916; how?
    = Ser. No. 12/503,696 )

    the next step will be to extrapolate among serial numbers

  9. LB August 10, 2011 4:52 pm

    Looks like it will be 11/874,690 for a visual prosthesis.

  10. Mark Nowotarski August 10, 2011 6:56 pm

    LB

    ooooow You’re good!

    I confirmed it in PAIR

  11. Gene Quinn August 10, 2011 7:03 pm

    LB-

    AWESOME! Thanks! I just added this to the article I just posted about when the USPTO will issue U.S. Patent No. 9,000,000. See:

    http://ipwatchdog.com/2011/08/10/predicting-the-future-when-will-u-s-patent-9000000-issue/id=18675/

    Mikk-

    Thanks for the idea about speculating when 9,000,000 will issue. It was a fun article to write!

    Everyone-

    So when do you think 9,000,000 will issue? Please check out that article and enter your guess and reasoning in the comments! Why not have a little fun in the dog days of summer?

    Cheers.

  12. Gene Quinn August 10, 2011 7:08 pm

    Step-

    I went to the Official Gazette to browse issued patents. I went through the Mechanical, Chemical and Electrical patents and found the one with the highest number. I am familiar with browsing patents this way from the days when I would do weekly obscure patents.

    See: http://www.uspto.gov/news/og/patent_og/index.jsp

    -Gene

  13. patent leather August 10, 2011 10:49 pm

    I would like to know how LB figured that out.

  14. mike August 11, 2011 10:53 am

    Maybe LB searched PALM. PALM may be searchable where PAIR is not. We should stop there, don’t want to draw negative attention to anyone’s good deed.

  15. step back August 11, 2011 2:19 pm

    Gene–

    About the Official Gazette, thanks.
    I’ve totally forgotten about that ancient manuscript.
    Back in the days of Gutenberg and hard copies I used to read that thing too. Do they still send out hard copies of the thing to subscribers?