7 Millionth Patent issued by United States Patent & Trademark Office
Written by Jane Coyle on 15 August 2007« Return to Reading Room
The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued patent
No. 7 million to DuPont senior researcher John P. O’Brien for “polysaccharide fibres” and a
process for their production. The fibres 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 year’s 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.
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