Is there a way to keep an invention patent application unpublished in the US?
If yes, for how long and can one get a search report while keeping the invention secret?
Afaik in Europe the only way would be military secrets.
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If the invention is not disclosed in another patent application in another country or patent organization (EPO) that requires publication, then a request for nonpublication can be made AT THE TIME OF FILING. The application will then not be published until such time as it may issue.
37 CFR 1.213 Nonpublication request. (a) If the invention disclosed in an application has not been and will not be the subject of an application filed in another country, or under a multilateral international agreement, that requires publication of applications eighteen months after filing, the application will not be published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b) and § 1.211 provided: (1) A request (nonpublication request) is submitted with the application upon filing; (2) The request states in a conspicuous manner that the application is not to be published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b); (3) The request contains a certification that the invention disclosed in the application has not been and will not be the subject of an application filed in another country, or under a multilateral international agreement, that requires publication at eighteen months after filing; and (4) The request is signed in compliance with § 1.33(b).