From https://sgp.fas.org: From 1991 to 2021, the FAS Project on Government Secrecy worked to challenge excessive government secrecy and to promote public oversight in national security affairs. This is the archived site of the FAS Project on Government Secrecy (1991-2021). It is no longer actively maintained. Selected Project resources are available below. Invention Secrecy
: At the end of fiscal year 2022, there were 6,057 secrecy orders in effect.
The Invention Secrecy Act of 1951 requires the government to impose "secrecy orders" on certain patent applications that contain sensitive information, thereby restricting disclosure of the invention and withholding the grant of a patent.
Remarkably, this requirement can be imposed even when the application is generated and entirely owned by a private individual or company without government sponsorship or support.
There are several types of secrecy orders which range in severity from simple prohibitions on export (but allowing other disclosure for legitimate business purposes) up to classification, requiring secure storage of the application and prohibition of all disclosure.