A big number? Well, if you’re talking about the number of stars in the universe, not so big. But if we’re talking about patents, it’s huge.
On June 19th 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office announced the publication of US patent number 10,000,000. Following much speculation in the industry about potential candidates to be awarded this significant milestone, the cat is out of the bag.
Leading up to this historic milestone, our team of experts in the IP and Standards business at Clarivate have been highlighting each millionth milestone patent, starting with US 1,000,000 for a “Vehicle Tire” issued to Francis Holton just over a hundred years ago on 8th Aug 1911, and follow on with US 2, US 3m, US 4m and so on through a series of videos postings on Linkedin and Twitter available at #10millionpatents and #Derwent10M.
Our journey through the millionth patent series has reflected the state of innovation and technological developments of the time as they become increasingly sophisticated.
Our journey through the millionth patent series has reflected the state of innovation and technological developments of the time as they become increasingly sophisticated. Along the way, we learned about how General Electric laid the groundwork for digitization of text (OCR) allowing much of the historical record to be searched on the internet today (US 3,000,000); how Robert Mendenhall, an individual entrepreneur, in true American tradition had faith in his product, invested to protect his invention, and built a company that then exported the technology to the world (US 4,000,000); and how another inspired individual, Robert Greenberg, set out to restore sight to the blind with a visual prosthesis which was also picked up by Google in their development of Google Glass (US 8,000,000).
And so to US 10,000,000 which published this week. Like its predecessors, this describes a significant topical invention. The patent, issued to Raytheon, a Clarivate Analytics Top 100 Global Innovator, is for a LADAR system, or Laser Detection and Ranging system. It describes a frequency modulated laser detection and ranging system for 3D gaming and machine vision applications. Other uses include pulsed LADAR for long range mapping, AM modulated LADAR for short range 3D imaging, FM modulated LADAR for interferometry application, and frequency domain optical coherence tomography application.
A quick look at the Top 10 companies by patent volume involved in this technology area includes Google – the related LIDAR technology is used in their self-driving WayMo cars.
The first US patent was issued in 1790, followed by just over 120 years before the first millionth patent. Since then, the gap has been closing, indicating that the pace of innovation is accelerating.
The first US patent was issued in 1790, followed by just over 120 years before the first millionth patent. Since then, the gap has been closing, indicating that the pace of innovation is accelerating. With the publication of US 10,000,000 that gap has closed to just three years and two months since the nine millionth patent was published. At that rate, we can expect the next milestone innovation, US 11 million, to issue sometime in June 2021.
We at Derwent are proud to acknowledge and celebrate with the USPTO the issuance of US Patent number 10,000,000 and look forward to many major patented innovations into the future.
Follow the Clarivate IP and Standards business as they highlight each millionth milestone patent, or learn more about the patent research capabilities of Derwent Innovation.