Invention Secrecy Up Slightly in 2008
There were 5,023 invention secrecy orders in effect at the end of FY 2008, up slightly from last year’s total of 5,002.
Under the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951, secrecy orders are applied by government agencies to patent applications that may be “detrimental to national security.” The patent is withheld, and the invention described in the application is subject to various degrees of restriction, depending on its sensitivity, from export controls to national security classification.
Last year, 68 new secrecy orders were imposed, while 47 were rescinded, according to statistics released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Federation of American Scientists.
The specific nature of the currently restricted inventions is, of course, not published. But it is possible to get information about dozens of patent applications that were formerly subject to secrecy orders that were later rescinded.
A list of secrecy orders rescinded in 2005-2006 (pdf), by application number, was released in response to a FOIA request from researcher Michael Ravnitzky.
A description of each formerly restricted application can be found by searching the application number on the Patent Office web site. Thus, the first invention on the list was described as a “rocket engine chamber with layered internal wall channels.”
The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons, and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987.. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]
On 14 April 2023, the Belarusian Ministry of Defence released a short video of a Su-25 pilot explaining his new role in delivering “special [nuclear] munitions” following his training in Russia. The features seen in the video, as well as several other open-source clues, suggest that Lida Air Base––located only 40 kilometers from the Lithuanian border and the […]
A photo in a Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) student briefing from 2022 shows four people inspecting what appears to be a damaged B61 nuclear bomb.
In early-February 2023, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) had informed Congress that China now has more launchers for Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) than the United States. The report is the latest in a serious of revelations over the past four years about China’s growing nuclear weapons arsenal and the deepening […]