is the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Director of the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian Institution. Located in the National Museum of American History, the Lemelson Center carries out historical research into invention and innovation, develops educational programs to inspire the next generation of inventors, and creates exhibits that engage some 4.5 million museum visitors annually.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued its 11 millionth patent today, May 11, 2021. America’s first (unnumbered) patent was issued in July of 1790, and patents were numbered consecutively starting in 1836. From there, the pace of patenting accelerated, with 100,000 patents issued by early 1870 and the 1 millionth issued in 1911. Since 2010, the USPTO has issued an average of over 300,000 new patents annually, as inventors and firms around the world have look to the United States as the premier global patent location.