I updated my patent database to include all patents issued thus far in 2011. For 2011, the median original patent issued in 3.8 years (4.0 years average pendency). For patents issued from continuation and divisional applications, the 2011 median pendency was 2.4 years (3.0 years average pendency). The pendency for original applications is essentially unchanged from 2010. However, the pendency of the median continuation & divisional application has dropped by about 5 months from 2010.
Median Pendency (Years)
Patents Issued From Original Applications (Excluding Continuations & Divisional Applications)
Patents Issued From Continuation or Divisional Applications
Of all the patents issued thus far in 2011, Louis Brown's Patent No. 7,959,525 issued most quickly — 125 days from the earliest priority date.
Brown's patent is directed to a Dual Composition Golf Tee. The patent itself is occupies only six pages and with five claims (one independent). The patent cites several prior patents — most of those being Brown's own prior patents that were also examined by the same USPTO primary examiner Steve Wong. In the background section, Brown explains how his claimed invention is an improvement upon his prior own inventions. Brown's case was "made special" after he filed a petition based upon his age (over 65 years).
The 2011 patent with the longest application pendency Patent No. 7,898,454 invented by Bertrand Starkey. Starkey's patent application was filed in 1966 by the Canadian Government and is licensed to the US Army. The application received a notice of allowance in 1968, but was held from issuance under a secrecy order until 2006. The Starkey patent is directed to a Radar Jamming method. The Canadian equivalent of Starkey's patent was also held under a secrecy order and issued in 2007. Starkey is also author of the intriguing book: Laplace Transforms for Electrical Engineers (1957).