A record backlog at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has left inventors waiting two years and more for approvals, delaying the arrival of new goods on the market.

James A. Rogan, who heads the office, has warned Congress that the backlog of applications could soar to over a million by 2008 – more than twice today’s level – unless he can increase the fees inventors pay by about 15 percent. The average patent will soon take as long as four years, he said.

The wait is about 24 months now.

“My guess is that somewhere in that (backlog) there are life-enhancing, productivity-increasing, job-producing items, technologies … that we’d be better having today than waiting for,” said Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif.

More here.