35 U.S. Code § 205. Confidentiality

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.

Effective Date

Section effective July 1, 1981, but implementing regulations authorized to be issued earlier, see section 8(f) of Pub. L. 96–517, set out as an Effective Date of 1980 Amendment note under section 41 of this title.