At a Glance –

* Last year, the patent office received 376,810 applications, up 6% from the 355,418 applications in 2003.

* The patent office approved 187,170 applications last year for patent protection.

* The average wait to have a patent request approved is about 2.5 years.

* About half of the patents filed are for technology, such as semiconductors, computer hardware, software and telecommunications.

* The patent office operates with about a $1.5 billion budget.