The first patent in the U.S. was filed and granted on 31st July 1790, titled ‘The making of pot ash and pear ashes’. It took almost 228 years to get from the first patent to the 10,000,000th and this timespan provides insight into the technological advancements that lead us to today.
The one millionth patent was granted on 8 August 1911, titled ‘Vehicle Tire’. In the early 1910s the top patent-obtaining companies were U.S. based however this trend slowly changed over the decades with European, Japanese and South Korean companies topping the list.
The four millionth patent was granted on 28 December 1976 for a ‘Process for recycling asphalt-aggregate compositions’. Interestingly, it took 24 and 26 years for the 2nd and 3rd million grant, respectively (not considering the 121-odd years to get to the one millionth patent grant), however the time needed for grant halved during this period to only 13 years.
The 5 millionth patent was granted on 1991, approximately 15 years after the previous million. The gap between the top and the bottom top 10 companies narrowed during the decades and this series was dominated by Japanese companies.
The 6 millionth patent was granted in 1999. The 7 million series started only 7 years after the 6th . Consumer electronics companies heavily dominate these series.
In only 6 short years, the 8 millionth patent was granted on 6 August 2011, followed by the 9 millionth patent grant on 7 April 2015.
On 19 June 2018, the ten millionth patent was granted on ‘Coherent Ladar Using Intra-Pixel Quadrature Detection’.
A significant shortening in time that takes to grant can be observed when comparing the series. Approximations estimate, that it will only take 3 years until the next millionth (the 11 millionth) patent is granted. There is also a shift from electric, chemical and automotive companies to computer hardware and software, correlating well with today’s consumer consumption needs.
For more detailed information, please refer to this article: http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2018/06/27/from-1-to-10000000-history-of-patents/id=98649/