Did you know that patents can be subject to secrecy orders?
Under Section 22 of the Patents Act 1977 the UKIPO can prohibit and restrict the publication of information if it is prejudicial to the defence of the realm or to the safety of the public. As you can imagine, this would commonly be the case for devices related to uranium enrichment or biological and chemical weapons. Patent offices must also be careful of dual-purpose inventions which could be harmless but could be replicated into something more serious.
One article we’ve read suggests that an average of 9 secrecy orders were imposed for every 10,000 filed in the UK.
If you’re intrigued with this ‘darker’ side of IP, you can read more about it here.