November 19, 2018
Originally posted 2018-11-19 11:18:25
By Kaiqi Du | www.amdlawgroup.com
From 2005 to 2015, the numbers of U.S. utility patent grants, including U.S. origin and foreign origin, were generally increasing; U.S. utility patent grants percent shares had an opposite trend with the design patent grants; the total numbers of U.S. patents grants were generally increasing. Specifically, year 2008 may be a critical year, since it was a turning point for U.S. patent grants.
Figure 1. The Numbers of U.S. Utility Patent Grants (Total, U.S. Origin, and Foreign Origin) Change in Years 2005 – 2015.
(Blue Trend: Utility Patent Grants, U.S. Origin)
(Red Trend: Utility Patent Grants, Foreign Origin)
(Green Trend: Utility Patent Grants, All Origin Total)
Fig. 1 shows the number of U.S. utility patent grants from different origins (total, U.S., and foreign) from 2005 to 2015. Before 2008, the U.S. granted more utility patents from U.S. origin than foreign origin. From 2008, the foreign origin surpassed the U.S. origin in U.S. utility patent grants. However, there was not a huge gap between the two; both of were generally around half of the total U.S. utility patent grants. The total origin (U.S. origin and foreign origin) was generally increasing in the decade.
Figure 2. The Percent Share of Utility Patent Grants in Total Patent Grants changes from 2005 to 2015.
Fig. 2 shows the percent shares of utility patent grants in total patent grants were decreasing from around 91% in 2005 to as low as about 85% in 2008. After 2008, the shares increased and returned to about 91% in 2015.
Figure 3. The Percent Share of Design Patent Grants in Total Patent Grants changes from 2005 to 2015.
In Fig. 3, the percent share of design patent grants in total patent grants increased from about 8% in 2005 to 14% in 2008. After 2008, the percent shares decreased to around 8% in 2015.
Figure 4. The numbers of total U.S. patent grants change from 2005 to 2015.
Fig.4 shows that the general trend of the numbers of total U.S. patent grants increased from around 150,000 in 2005 to more than 300,000 in 2015, during which, in 2007-2009, the numbers flattened to around 170,000.
Discussion and Conclusion
Both U.S. origin and foreign origin utility patent grants increased from 2005 to 2015; similarly, both numbers doubled. Specifically, the year 2008 was a turning point in which the numbers of foreign origin U.S. utility patent grants exceeded those of U.S. origin ones (Figure 1).
Comparing the percent shares of utility patent grants and design patents in the decade, opposite trends existed (Figure 2 and 3). Both had turning points in year 2008; however, utility patent grants had the lowest percent share and design grants had the highest percent share.
Regarding the total number of patent grants in the U.S., the numbers were increasing; however, between the years 2007-2009, the numbers flattened (Figure 4).
In sum, the year 2008 was a critical year for U.S. patent grants (Figure 1, 2, 3 and 4). This may have been caused by the 2008 Financial Crisis and the subsequent economic downturn in the United States. It may explain how the numbers of foreign origin U.S. utility patent grants were able to exceed the numbers of U.S. origin ones; some technological innovation may have increased in foreign companies rather than American ones. It would also explain how utility patent grants had the lowest percent share and design ones had the highest share in the total patent grants: utility patents were more technical and needed more investment, which could not have been provided sufficiently during the economic downturn. The economic downturn could have also prevented persons or entities from creating or applying for new patents, which would further explain why the total numbers of patent grants flattened during 2007-2009.