The patent backlog is easy to see at the agency's five-building campus in Alexandria. Va. Inventors wait on average 31 months for a patent decision as examiners slog through 675,000 pending applications, a number that is expected to hit a record 800,000 by year-end.
U.S. patents are worth waiting for. They offer the world's strongest legal protection of intellectual property and easiest enforcement of claims. And they're cheaper to get and keep than patents in Europe or Japan.