On Valentine’s Day the U.S. PTO issued its 7-millionth patent. The office marked the date with some stats:
- Patent No. 1 million was issued on August 8, 1911, for a tubeless vehicle tire.
- Twenty-four years later, on April 30, 1935, patent No. 2 million issued for a vehicle wheel to increase the safety and longevity of pneumatic tires.
- Patent No. 3 million issued 26 years later on September 12, 1961, to an inventor at the General Electric Co., for an automated system that translated letters, numbers and symbols to data processing code.
- Patent No. 4 million issued 15 years later on December 28, 1976 for a process for recycling asphalt aggregate compositions.
- Fifteen years later, on March 19, 1991, Patent No. 5 million issued to a University of Florida inventor, for a more efficient way to produce fuel ethanol.
- Only eight years later, patent No. 6 million issued on December 7, 1999, to 3Com Corporationâ€™s Palm Computing for its HotSyncÂ® technology.
- And now just a little more than six years later, patent No. 7 million issues.
Looking at the rapid recent decrease in the time required for each incremental million patents, you get the feeling the U.S. PTO could better be described as a fairly effective virus.