U.S. Patent Act
..Part II. Patentabililty of Inventions and Grant of Patents
....Chapt. 18. Inventions Made With Federal Assistance
Federal agencies are authorized to withhold from disclosure to the public information disclosing any invention in which the Federal Government owns or may own a right, title, or interest (including a nonexclusive license) for a reasonable time in order for a patent application to be filed. Furthermore, Federal agencies shall not be required to release copies of any document which is part of an application for patent filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office or with any foreign patent office.