interesting article from the Lo Tempio blog.
It appears that in spite of of all the doom and gloom, there have been a record number of patent applications filed for the United States 2011 fiscal year. If you have the time, the "Performance and Accountability Report" would make interesting reading.
Clearly, even if times are tough, failure to file a patent application can have detrimental consequences in two or three years' time. The reason is simply that both here and in the United States, it can take 2 to 3 years before a patent is actually granted. If the economy has picked up by then and you have failed to file a patent application two or three years earlier, you could be missing out on the gravy train. I suspect this is why the number of applications per year is still climbing in the US and particularly in China.