The US PTO is publishing triple the number of 977 patent publications compared to only several years ago ! What gives?

For example, I noticed that yesterday, May 26, 2011, the US PTO published 72 nanotech 977 patent publications. That struck me as a lot to review if you want to follow nanotechnology. The week before was 65; the week before that was 63; and the week before that was 73. This year, in 2011, the PTO publishes on average about 58 per week. So this week was not unusual. Until you look at the recent past.

Last year, 2010, was 53 per week.

2009 provided only 29 per week; and 2008 only 16; and 2007 only 22.

Hence, in essence, the 977 publication rate has tripled in the past several years.

Nanotechnology, clearly, is a central theme in innovation growth in the US. Yet, we see dialog along the lines of "it does not matter if it is nanotech....we just care about the result and not if nanotech was used to get the result." Or, "nanotechnology is not an industry."

Clearly, innovators and those commercializing innovation see nanotech as important, however it is packaged as an "industry" or not !

The NNI, university, and federal laboratory research continue to be central drivers for nanotech. However, note also that the NNI has a new web page format at www.nano.gov. Excellent step ahead. However, unfortunately, the new web page is not being regularly updated. In contrast, the Department of Energy web page prolifically informs the public of new developments. What gives?