The Invention Secrecy Act of 1951 has been used for more than half a century to restrict disclosure of patent applications that could be “detrimental to national security.” At the end of the last fiscal year, no fewer than 5,321 secrecy orders were in effect.
These secrecy orders have been difficult to penetrate and the stories behind them have usually been left untold. But several inventors whose work prompted imposition of a secrecy order were interviewed by G.W. Schulz of the Center for Investigative Reporting. See his new account in Government secrecy orders on patents keep lid on inventions, April 16, 2013.