The Patent Office has its flaws, but at least one part of the patent program that works is that everyone can see and read most non-national security related patents. Don’t worry too much though, as the USPTO is working on changing the part that works into something that will inevitably be a mess. There is a proposal up for discussion that any patent that could be bad for the “national interest” could be held secret, limiting the scope of discourse on patents. Horrible idea, adding additional confusion to a system that is already confusing and doesn’t work as well as people would like.

[Source: FAS]