The government sequester and shutdown did not adversely impact the progress of awarding patents in the U.S. Nor did the necessary work that went into implementing procedures of the America Invents Act like the first-to-invent designation and the post-issuance reviews. Rather than being slowed by any of these factors, the U.S. Patent Office awarded more patents than ever in 2013, according to Patently-O. The preliminary figure for 2013 is 277,861 patents issued in total, an increase of 10 percent year-over-year.
The average amount of time patents spent pending is around 37 months, which Patently-O notes is an improvement consistent with the shortened pending times over the last several years.
2013 has been a something of a rocky year for patents in the public eye, with patent assertion entities and lawsuits with them often in the news. However, despite problems that some analysts see with the patent system, utility inventions continue apace and intellectual property keeps expanding as a crucial approach to protecting valuable ideas, as this data from the U.S. Patent Office clearly shows.