According to Newsfactor.com, the United States Patent and Trademark Office is taking an average of 31 months to issue a patent. Worse, the backlog of pending patent applications is estimated to increase from 675,000 today, to over 800,000 by the end of the year. Although the Patent Office plans to go paperless by the end of the year and increase the number of examiners by 50 percent to roughly 7,500 within a few years after that, those measures are likely too little, too late to reverse the trend.
The obvious solution would be for Congress to stop stealing fees from inventors for use in non-patent related projects. With the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision in Figueroa v. U.S last October however, I would not bet the farm on either reasonable patent fees or expedited patent processing becoming a reality any time soon.