Frequently Asked Questions About Patent Statistics (FAQs)

Patent Statistics

Question 1.
I am a graduate student doing a regression analysis study using patent biblographic data with statistical analysis software. What is the best patent data source for me?
The front page of a granted U.S. patent contains its Bibligraphic data or Bib data for short. You can get the Bib data for patent grants from a number of sources. The three most common places to get Patent Bib Data are:
  • TAF Database Bib Data From PTMT - Selected Patent Bib data are contained in USPTO's Technology Assessment and Forecast (TAF) database for U.S. patents granted since 1963. These data have been compiled and cleaned by the Patent Technology Monitoring Team (PTMT) and have been made available to the public in a number of large flat files in column-fixed format that can be easily imported into software such as Oracle, Stata or SAS. Please note these files may be too big for use in spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel. While the files may seem to load successfully into the spreadsheet software, the software may not be able to handle the data in a reliable and consistent way. Therefore, comprehensive database software such as Oracle, Stata, SAS, or an equivalent is recommended for use with these files. Information about TAF database Patent Bib data files and their availability is located under the heading, "PTMT Custom Bibliographic Patent Data Extract DVD-ROM", which can be found here: .
  • Bulk Patent Data Downloads From EIPD - Files are available for download from USPTO's Electronic Information Products Division that contain Bib data for U.S. patents granted since 1976. More recent files are in an XML-like tagged format while older files are in a variety of other formats. Bib data for more recently issued patents are available in weekly Bib data files that each need to be downloaded separately. Bib data for older patents may be consolidated into annual Bib data files. Programming may be required to extract individual data elements for analysis. Please note that the format and content of some of the data elements in these files have changed over time. Also, PTMT data cleaning efforts have not been incorporated into these bulk patent data files. The bulk data files are available for download at either of two locations:
  • PATSTAT - The European Patent Office maintains a bulk data product that contains selected patent bibliographic data from many of the world's different patent offices. Information about this product is available at:

Question 2.
I am a resident of a state/country and wanted to find out how many patents came from my state/country?
Below are listed the most common places to get patent counts by state and country.
  • PTMT's Patent Counts by Country/State and Year, Utility Patents Report - This calendar year report shows the annual count of utility patents coming from each state and country. "Utility patents" are commonly referred to as "patents for invention". This report is located at: .
    This and other PTMT patent statistics reports that profile patenting activity by state and country can be accessed from the following web page under the section heading, "By Geographic Origin":
  • USPTO Annual Fiscal Year Reports (e.g., Performance and Accountability Reports) - These fiscal year annual reports contain patent activity workload tables that show the number of patent applications and patent grants coming from each state and country. These reports profile patent activity by fiscal year which currently extends from October 1 through September 30. These annual fiscal year reports can be found at: .
    Please note that these fiscal year statistics are compiled by PTMT from the contents of the TAF database.
  • Patent Text Search Tools - The USPTO Full Text Patent Search tool can be used to obtain approximate counts of the number of patents coming from a particular state or country during a period. The Quick Search version of this tool is available at: .
    The "Applicant State" and "Applicant Country" selection options from the drop down search box can be used to restrict patents to those that include an inventor who resided in a specified location at the time of grant. Similarly, the "Issue Date" selection option from the drop down search box can be used to restrict returned patents to those that were issued during a particular time period. Please note, however, that counts will differ from the counts obtained from the PTMT calendar year reports and the USPTO Annual Fiscal Year Reports. While the PTMT and USPTO Annual Fiscal Year Reports use the residence of the first-named inventor to determine the origin of a patent, a search performed with the USPTO Full Text Patent Search tool does not allow searching to be restricted to the first-named inventor so that a submitted query will return ALL patents having ANY inventor (not just the first one) who resided in the identified location during the time period. To incorporate additional conditions into a search query, the Advanced Search version of the USPTO Full Text Patent Search tool can be used, as is available at: .

Questions 3.
What is a utility patent (versus a design of patent patent) as listed in PTMT General Patent Statistics Reports?
Below are some locations of descriptions for the different kinds of patents granted by USPTO.

Questions 4.
Where are patent statistics and data located on the USPTO Web Site?
Patent statistics and data are located in many different areas of the USPTO Web Site.

Questions 5.
Which company received the most patents last year?
The annual list of organizations receiving the most utility patents (i.e., "patents for invention") is available in the PTMT "Patenting By Organizations" report that can be accessed at: .
The annual list of organizations receiving the most design patents (i.e., "patents for ornamental design") is available in the PTMT "Design Patenting By Organizations" report that can be accessed at: .

Questions 6.
What share of a company's patents were invented in the United States?
The approximate domestic inventor share for many companies is available in the PTMT "Patenting By Ownership Location (State and Country), Breakout By Organization and Domestic (U.S.) Inventor Share" report that can be accessed at: .
The "All Countries" link displays the most comprehensive calculated share for each company and organization.

Questions and comments about the contents of this USPTO web page are welcome and may be e-mailed to the USPTO Patent Technology Monitoring Team: