Patents-Procedure-Applicability of Invention Secrecy Act Where Government Use of Invention is Authorized

After extended negotiations, plaintiff entered into a contract with the United States for the development of a new model “hemisphere sight,” a mock-up of which plaintiff had previously revealed to the Air Force. Acting upon a request by the Air Force, the Commissioner of Patents issued a secrecy order on the gun sight pursuant to provisions of the Invention Secrecy Act, thus preventing the issuance of a patent to the plaintiff. In order for the United States to have a second source of supply for the sights, the plaintiff revealed its engineering information to another manufacturer upon governmental request to do so. In 1955 plaintiff brought this action in the district court to recover compensation for gun sights which had been produced by the second manufacturer and sold to the Air Force. After protracted litigation the plaintiff obtained a judgment in excess of 650,000 dollars against the United States. On appeal, held, reversed for lack of jurisdiction, one judge dissenting. Since the Invention Secrecy Act is applicable only in cases involving unauthorized governmental use of inventions under a secrecy order, the proper forum for the plaintiff was the Court of Claims. Farrand Optical Co. v. United States, 135 U.S.P.Q. 165 (2d Cir. 1962).