Two patent applications that had been subject to “secrecy orders” under the Invention Secrecy Act for years or decades were finally granted patents and publicly disclosed in 2016.
“Only two patents have been granted so far on cases in which the secrecy order was rescinded in FY16,” the US Patent and Trademark Office said this week in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. They were among the 20 inventions whose secrecy orders were rescinded over the past year.
One of the patents concerns “a controllable barrier layer against electromagnetic radiation, to be used, inter alia, as a radome for a radar antenna for instance.” The inventor, Anders Grop of Sweden, filed the patent application in 2007 and it was granted on April 5, 2016 (patent number 9,306,290).
The other formerly secret invention that finally received a patent this year described “multi-charge munitions, incorporating hole-boring charge assemblies.” Detonation of the munitions is “suitable for defeating a concrete target.” That invention was originally filed in 1990 by Kevin Mark Powell and Edward Evans of the United Kingdom and was granted on October 25, 2016 (patent number 9,476,682).
The inventors could not immediately be contacted for comment. But judging from appearances, the decision to control the disclosure of these two inventions for a period of time and then to grant them a patent was consistent with the terms of the Invention Secrecy Act, and it had no obvious adverse impacts.