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Do military company have to talk to the U.S. government before they apply for a patent? Sometimes, it makes more sense to keep a technology secret instead of applying the technology in a patent office. I am wondering if the U.S. government require military companies to inform them about every technological innovation so they can instruct them to either apply for a patent or to keep the technology secret.

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A patent application is made to the US government and is just about always initially kept secret for commercial reasons. Under the Invention Secrecy Act, the US government can order any patent application suspended and placed under a secrecy order, whether or not the inventor is a defense contractor. An inventor may be able to publish it anyway at the cost of forfeiting US patent protection, but if the invention is classified then that would raise its own legal issues.

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