To the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
via email to
April 26, 2012

This is in response to the April 20, 2012 PTO Federal Register notice requesting comments on the feasibility of imposing secrecy orders on economically significant patent applications.

I would recommend against adopting such a policy for the following reasons.

  • Economic security is not analogous to national security, so the use of secrecy orders is inappropriate to protect economic security.
  • The secrecy order process is inconsistent with Congress' declared concern about protecting U.S. inventors.
  • The "nonpublication request" procedure noted by PTO is a superior alternative to a secrecy order.
  • Finally, with respect to national security-based secrecy orders, I would recommend that the current Patent Security Category Review List be published in order to enhance the reliability of the secrecy order system.
  • Thank you for considering these comments.

    Steven Aftergood
    Project Director
    Federation of American Scientists
    1725 DeSales Street NW, Suite 600
    Washington, DC 20036