Number Of U.S. Patents Soared In 1998
January 15, 1999
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a record 151,024 patents last year -- up an astounding 33 percent from the 113,720 issued in 1997, according to IFI/Plenum Data Corp. Companies which have no immediate use for a patent they have been granted are licensing them out in order to boost revenues, experts report.
- For the sixth year in a row, IBM Corp. gathered more patents than any other firm -- a record 2,657 of them, up 54 percent from the previous year.
- IBM received more than $1 billion in licensing fees last year from 1,600 different companies.
- U.S. companies increased research and development budgets 9.7 percent last year to $143.7 billion, reports the Battelle Memorial Institute and R&D Magazine.
- After the patent office several years ago began removing barriers which had made it difficult to obtain patents on software, the number of software-related patents skyrocketed from just 1,600 in 1992 to 17,500 this past year.
Patent officials report a 20 percent increase in the number of examiners in the past year. Average patent approval now takes about 23 months.
Source: Rodney Ho, "Patents Hit Record in '98 as Tech Firms Rushed to Protect Intellectual Property," Wall Street Journal, January 15, 1999.
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