The precarious position of patent offices and patent pendence world wide portends continued unrest in the patent sphere and the potential decline in protection of precious inventions. Please peruse the particulars.
In 2010, the number of unprocessed patent applications world-wide stood at 5.17 million.
As of 2009, the number of patent applications filed globally was about 1.8 million a year. (The last year the global number of patent application is available.)
In 2008, the US share of that number was 482,871, about 27%.
In 2010 the number of US patent applications hit 520,277.
In 2009 the USPTO granted 191,927 patents.
By 2010 the US number of patents granted hit 244,341 - less than half of the volume of new applications coming in the door.
In 2008 the global number of grants was 777,556.
The average patent pendency - the period of time between the time a patent application is filed to the time a patent office makes a final decision - is around 32 months. This number is lower than the US average which stands at about 34 months.
The number of patents in force in the US as of 2009 was 1,930,631. The global number is a confusing hodge podge of counts by national patent office that doesn't lend itself to compiling one consolidated number.
The bottom line is protracted patent pendency persists.