Secrecy And Patents

According to Secrecy News there is a growing number of patents that are being deemed strategic to national security and therefore being classed as secret.

Under the Invention Secrecy Act
of 1951, U.S. government agencies may restrict the disclosure of a
patent application whenever its publication is deemed “detrimental to
the national security.”  In Fiscal Year 2009, 103 new secrecy orders
were issued, while 45 existing orders were rescinded.  The overall
number of orders in effect increased by about 1% over the year before,
according to statistics from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that were released to Secrecy News under the Freedom of Information Act.

This idea of making inventions secret when the intention of patenting is to protect the IP, not to keep the IP secret, shows in one fell swoop the problems that now face nations – and incidentally corporations – as well as individuals.

Some inventions are so potentially disruptive that they become implicit threats to the way of life that the incumbent players, whether they be politicians or businessmen, are familiar with.

There is no doubt that the US continues to look at P2P as one of these threats. Why? Because their economy is quite dependent on royalty income from the rest of the world. Corporations who are used to a centralized command and control business structure just don't understand that moving to an open source business model does not mean making things free. It means getting the price right for things – which means much lower pricing distributing digital goods across many more customers.

P2P is being adopted in other areas though and is going to be equally disruptive. One area is in power generation. The visionary scientists and business people developing the real solutions to sustainable energy are all looking at widely distributed, robust, small power plants that are driven by Hydrogen or Solar and contributing power into the grid. Scientists are looking at ways to reduce the need for base load too.

These solutions are totally disruptive of the energy industry and will mean that we will not need to think about clean coal or investing in big power stations.

Fortunately P2P is out of the bag.

One can only wonder what inventions are being deemed too dangerous to allow into the public domain.

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