WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today issued patent no. 7,000,000 to DuPont senior researcher John P. O'Brien for "polysaccharide fibers" and a process for their production. The fibers have cotton-like properties, are biodegradable and are useful in textile applications.
It took 75 years to get from patent no. 1 to patent 1 million. It has taken less than one tenth of that time to go from 6 million to 7 million patents.
- 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 Corporation's Palm Computing for its HotSync® technology.
- And now just a little more than six years later, patent no. 7 million issues.
Patent no. 1 was issued in 1836. Earlier patents were not numbered, although the first U.S. patent was issued in 1790. Approximately 10,000 patents were issued between 1790 and 1836. The USPTO issued 151,079 utility patents in fiscal year 2005.