On June 19, 2018 the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued U.S. Patent No. 10,000,000 symbolizing the breath and strength of American invention and showing that patents are still an important tool in protecting innovation.
Patent No. 10,000,000 for “Coherent Ladar Using Intra-Pixel Quadrature Detection” was invented by Joseph Marron and issued to Raytheon Co. The invention has applications in fields such as autonomous vehicles, medical imaging devices, military defense systems, and space and undersea exploration. In addition to becoming the first eight digit patent, it is also the first patent to receive the new patent cover design which was revealed by the USPTO back in March.
President Donald Trump signed the patent at a White House ceremony, making him the first president to sign a patent since Gerald Ford did it to mark the U.S. bicentennial in 1976. The first patent was signed by George Washington 228 years ago on July 31, 1790. That patent was issued to Samuel Hopkins for a process of making pot ash (an ingredient used in fertilizer). However, this was not Patent No. 1. In fact, about 10,000 patents were issued before numbers were first assigned with the institution of the Patent Act of 1836 written by Sen. John Ruggles. U.S. Patent No. 1 was issued on July 11, 1836 to the same John Ruggles. After that it took 155 years (1836 to 1991) for the United States to issue its first 5 million patents, but it took only 27 years to issue the next 5 million!
For more information, the USPTO has an interactive timeline highlighting important moments and facts, which can be found here: https://10millionpatents.uspto.gov.