The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that it issued U.S. Patent No. 11,000,000 on May 11, 2021. The patent was granted to co-inventors Saravana B. Kumar and Jason S. Diedering of 4C Medical Technologies, Inc. in Maple Grove, Minn. It is for a utility patent that provides a new method for delivering, positioning and/or repositioning a collapsible and expandable stent frame within a patient’s heart chamber. The USPTO, typically, tries to select a patent that will have lasting technological significance when it is ready to issue a major milestone patent.

The USPTO also has a separate numbering system for design patents and plant patents, so that the United States has issued substantially more than 11 million patents.

The first U.S. patent was granted to Samuel Hopkins on July 31, 1790 for an improvement in the making of potash. The first numbered patent was granted on July 13, 1836 to Senator John Ruggles for a locomotive steam engine for rail and other boards.

Approximately 9,000 utility patents were issued before the USPTO started numbering patents. The utility patents that were issued before U.S. Patent No. 1 are referred to as the “x-patents.”

Another milestone patent, U.S. Patent No. 10,000,000, was issued on June 19, 2018 for "Coherent Ladar Using Intra-Pixel Quadrature Detection.” The USPTO indicated that the patent symbolizes the breadth of American invention, with applications in such varied fields as autonomous vehicles, medical imaging devices, military defense systems, and space and undersea exploration. The technology was invented by Joseph Marron and is owned by Raytheon Company.

Yet another milestone patent, U.S. Patent No. 9,000,000, was issued on April 7, 2015, to WiperFill Holdings LLC. It was invented by Matthew Carroll. The patent was directed to a system of collecting rainwater to replenish a windshield wiper reservoir and windshield washer conditioner.

My next two blog posts will identify and discuss other milestone patents.