There were 5,135 inventions that were under secrecy orders at the end of Fiscal Year 2010, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office told Secrecy News last week. It’s a 1% rise over the year before, and the highest total in more than a decade.
Under the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951, patent applications on new inventions can be subject to secrecy orders restricting their publication if government agencies believe that disclosure would be “detrimental to the national security.”
The current list of technology areas that is used to screen patent applications for possible restriction under the Invention Secrecy Act is not publicly available and has been denied under the Freedom of Information Act. (An appeal is pending.) But a previous list dated 1971 and obtained by researcher Michael Ravnitzky is available here (pdf).
Most of the listed technology areas are closely related to military applications. But some of them range more widely.
Thus, the 1971 list indicates that patents for solar photovoltaic generators were subject to review and possible restriction if the photovoltaics were more than 20% efficient. Energy conversion systems were likewise subject to review and possible restriction if they offered conversion efficiencies “in excess of 70-80%.”
One may fairly ask if disclosure of such technologies could really have been “detrimental to the national security,” or whether the opposite would be closer to the truth. One may further ask what comparable advances in technology may be subject to restriction and non-disclosure today. But no answers are forthcoming, and the invention secrecy system persists with no discernible external review.
Despite the uphill battle the country is facing, Dr. Schlaerth feels optimistic about the future possibilities of industrial decarbonization.
A supply-side tax credit (STC) could offer a tax incentive to material suppliers and professional service consultants that provide goods or services to affordable housing projects.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Commerce, and Department of Transportation should jointly develop and manage a data resource—a Housing Production Dashboard—to track housing production within and across states.
Exempting affordable housing from volume caps would address the underlying issue and have the greatest impact in this housing emergency.