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A public policy blog from AEI
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Last week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued its 10 millionth patent, a major milestone signifying our nation’s spirit of innovation.
President Trump affixed his signature to the new patent, which names Joseph Marron, an employee of Raytheon residing in Manhattan Beach, California. It is titled “Coherent LADAR using intra-pixel quadrature detection” and claims improvements to laser detection and ranging.
(Incidentally, the only other US presidents to sign an issued patent were George Washington, whose signature graces the first one; John Adams; Thomas Jefferson; James Madison; James Monroe; John Quincy Adams; and Gerald Ford, who signed a patent granted on our nation’s bicentennial.)
While in this space we have examined the many challenges facing our patent system as we strive to balance incentives for invention against inducements to abuse, the issuance of Patent 10,000,000, arriving shortly before Independence Day, offers as good an occasion as any to reflect on the greatness of the American patent system, which has nurtured and fostered one of the most technologically innovative societies in the history of the world.
As USPTO Director Andrei Iancu noted eloquently last week in his insightful address at AEI’s event on recent patent developments, the Oval Office signing was “a remarkable event” indicating “the significance intellectual property has achieved in our country and our economy.” Iancu went on to call the milestone
A testament to American imagination and perseverance that has changed the world. . . . [It] demonstrates that the US patent and trademark system is not only the backbone of our economy but is also the core of innovation, invention, entrepreneurship, and human progress.
Let us, therefore, pause to reflect on these achievements. Sure enough, on the occasion of the 10 millionth patent, the Patent Office itself has compiled a helpful, elegantly presented list of patent landmarks, and here are some of the greatest hits:
Many chapters remain to be written in the story of American innovation, and our system is far from perfect. But every so often, it’s important to look back and reflect on how far we’ve come.
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