NSA Patents:

A Searchable, Interactive and Fully-Visualizable Database
of Patents Filed by the National Security Agency


NSA patents are special: they never expire and they usually aren't revealed to the public. 

Unless someone else files an identical patent application, that is. 

In this case, NSA's ownership is published by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). We've collected data made available online by the USPTO to build a unified database of:

From game board designs, to geo-locating methods; from algorithms to identify topics and summarize large amounts of text, to voice identifier.

Updated as of: August 10th, 2015



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Nine NSA Patents Publicly Assigned Between 2014 and 2015


Most Recent Patents Filed by NSA
Page Title
Assignee (other than NSA)
Inventors
Date Assigned
Date Filed
Image
Phoniton systems, devices, and methods - id: 9059388University of MarylandHristov; Rousko TodorovSoykal; Oney O.Tahan; Charles George16/06/201515/03/2013
Device for and method of computer intrusion anticipation, detection, and remediation - id: 8898784Grossman; Robert L.Alexander; Keith B.Dowd; Patrick W.25/11/201429/05/2013http://worldwide.espacenet.com/espacenetImage.jpg?flavour=firstPageClipping&locale=en_EP&FT=D&date=20141125&CC=US&NR=8898784B1&KC=B1
Method of controlling a transaction - id: 8886952Olthoff; Kenneth G.11/11/201406/12/2007http://worldwide.espacenet.com/espacenetImage.jpg?flavour=firstPageClipping&locale=en_EP&FT=D&date=20141111&CC=US&NR=8886952B1&KC=B1
Device for and method of determining changes to GUI - id: 8826158Blair; Mark W.Nuzzi; Paul J.02/09/201414/12/2011patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/US8826158B1/US08826158-20140902-D00000.png
Method of fabricating optical device using multiple sacrificial spacer layers - id: RE45084Fitz; John L.Hinkel; Daniel S.Horst; Scott C.19/08/201419/04/2012patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/USRE45084E1/USRE045084-20140819-D00000.png
Device for and method of measuring similarity between sets - id: 8799339Knox; Steven W.Bates; Richard M.05/08/201419/11/2010patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/US8799339B1/US08799339-20140805-D00000.png
AIS demodulator for unknown carrier phase and baud alignment - id: 8665997Smith; David C.04/03/201424/02/2011patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/US8665997B1/US08665997-20140304-D00000.png
Method of image-based user authentication - id: 8655027Olthoff; Kenneth G.18/02/201425/03/2011patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/US8655027B1/US08655027-20140218-D00000.png

Click on a patent for more details, or change the filters to see other patents

NSA Patented Methods for Geolocation

Snowden documents leaked insider's details on the NSA surveillance practices, including how the Agency could discover the exact location of an IP address or mobile phone.

Already years before Snowden, in 2005, anyone could enter USPTO's website and read about NSA's patent US6947978: Method for geolocating logical network addresses. The inventors, Michael Reifner and Stephen Huffman, in 2000 had filed a patent application for a

"Method for geolocating logical network addresses on electronically switched dynamic communications networks, such as the Internet, using the time latency of communications to and from the logical network address to determine its location [...]"  

(Read the whole abstract)

Patents dealing with "Geolocation" 

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The NSA Even Has a Patent for a Game Board 


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10 NSA Methods for Analysing and Processing Large Text Data

Many of the NSA patents also involve text analysis. Undoubtedly a pivotal issue for the Agency, given the amount of data it has to collect and organize. There are 10 public NSA patented inventions that mention "text" in their name. These include methods for text sorting and searching, for summarizing large texts and for identifying keywords. One patent also solves the issue of extracting text from color images.

NSA Patents with "Text" in the name

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John Fitz: The Most Prolific (Public) NSA Inventor

John Fitz, Jonathan Cohen and Scott Horst are the inventors behind the biggest number of NSA public patents.

Top Inventors behind NSA Publicly Assigned Patents

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NSA Patents Owned also by IBM and Three Universities

IBM is the co-owns 5 patents with the NSA. Other three Universities also share at least a patent with the Agency.

Number of Patents Grouped by Assignee (other than NSA)


66 Years Before the NSA was Publicly Granted the Cryptographic System Patent

Top 10 Patents for Number of Days Between Filing and Assignment

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These patents who took so long are are also the ones that were filed first: two of them back in the '30s and one during World War Two. All three of them were assigned to NSA only in 2000-2001.

Details on Top 10 Patents for Number of Days Between Filing and Assignment

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Two Inventors Behind NSA Patents were Residing Outside the US

85% of the inventors were residing in Maryland when their NSA patent. Makes sense, given the Agency's HQ is in Fort George G. Meade, MarylandCalifornia (3.2%), Washington D.C., Michigan and Virginia are the next up the line. Leslie Newton McAdoo (UK) and Richard Kuehnel (Germany) are the only two inventors that were residing outside of the US when the NSA patent was filed. 

Location of Residence of Inventors of NSA Patents

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Top 10 Residence Location of NSA inventors

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Number of NSA Patents grouped by Inventors' US State of Residence

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Images from NSA's Vintage Patent Applications Filed Half a Century Ago

The Eight Earliest NSA Patents Filed to USPTO

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Interesting Queries #1: "Network", 14 Patents

Patents with "Network" in the Title


Interesting Queries #2: "Data", 13 Patents

Patents with "Data" in the Title

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Interactive Table of All Public NSA-Owned Patents (as of August 10th, 2015)

All Public NSA Patents

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