Patents have long offered protections for inventors and innovators across the country. That long tradition has reached another large milestone, a mark that reveals how fast patent applications are growing.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued patent number 11 million. After nearly 231 years, the event is a significant step in a process that remains integral to protecting new ideas.
The USPTO dedicated the success of the patent system to all the inventors who contributed since their first patent, issued on July 31, 1790. President George Washington signed the patent, a new process for making a fertilizer ingredient.
Originally, patents in the U.S. were not given a number. They were only discernable by the name of the patentee and when the USPTO ratified the patent. The first to begin the march to 11 million was for a traction wheel used with steam locomotives in 1836.
The patent that made the achievement covers a novel means of delivering and adjusting a stent frame inside the heart chamber. 4C Medical Technologies, Inc., the company behind the innovation, began in a garage in Minnesota. They now have a team that works toward developing new medical technologies, embodying the USPTO’s idea of inventors that can benefit from patents.
While a good time to marvel at the system’s history, it’s also a stark reminder of the growing pace of participation. The USPTO issued patent number 10 million just three years ago. Applications picking up speed means you’ll likely strive for your own patent in an arena as crowded as ever. Finding your place in history could begin with experienced help getting there.