(a) In the event a subject invention is made under funding agreements of more than one agency, at the request of the contractor or on their own initiative the agencies shall designate one agency as responsible for administration of the rights of the government in the invention.
(b) Agencies shall promptly grant, unless there is a significant reason not to, a request by a nonprofit organization under paragraph (k)(2) of the clauses prescribed by either OMB Circular A-124 or OMB Bulletin 81-22 inasmuch as 35 U.S.C. 202(c)(7) has since been amended to eliminate the limitation on the duration of exclusive licenses. Similarly, unless there is a significant reason not to, agencies shall promptly approve an assignment by a nonprofit organization to an organization which has as one of its primary functions the management of inventions when a request for approval has been necessitated under paragraph (k)(1) of the clauses prescribed by either OMB Circular A-124 or OMB Bulletin 81-22 because the patent management organization is engaged in or holds a substantial interest in other organizations engaged in the manfacture or sale of products or the use of processes that might utilize the invention or be in competition with embodiments of the invention. As amended, 35 U.S.C. 202(c)(7) no longer contains this limitation. The policy of this subsection should also be followed in connection with similar approvals that may be required under Institutional Patent Agreements, other patent rights clauses, or waivers that predate Chapter 18 of Title 35, United States Code.
(c) The President's Patent Policy Memorandum of February 18, 1983, states that agencies should protect the confidentiality of invention disclosure, patent applications, and utilization reports required in performance or in consequence of awards to the extent permitted by 35 U.S.C. 205 or other applicable laws. The following requirements should be followed for funding agreements covered by and predating this part 401.
(1) To the extent authorized by 35 U.S.C. 205, agencies shall not disclose to third parties pursuant to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) any information disclosing a subject invention for a reasonable time in order for a patent application to be filed. With respect to subject inventions of contractors that are small business firms or nonprofit organizations, a reasonable time shall be the time during which an initial patent application may be filed under paragraph (c) of the standard clause found at § 401.14(a) or such other clause may be used in the funding agreement. However, an agency may disclose such subject inventions under the FOIA, at its discretion, after a contractor has elected not to retain title or after the time in which the contractor is required to make an election if the contractor has not made an election within that time. Similarly, an agency may honor a FOIA request at its discretion if it finds that the same information has previously been published by the inventor, contractor, or otherwise. If the agency plans to file itself when the contractor has not elected title, it may, of course, continue to avail itself of the authority of 35 U.S.C. 205.
(2) In accordance with 35 U.S.C. 205, agencies shall not disclose or release for a period of 18 months from the filing date of the patent application to third parties pursuant to requests under the Freedom of Information Act, or otherwise, copies of any document which the agency obtained under this clause which is part of an application for patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or any foreign patent office filed by the contractor (or its assignees, licensees, or employees) on a subject invention to which the contractor has elected to retain title. This prohibition does not extend to disclosure to other government agencies or contractors of government agencies under an obligation to maintain such information in confidence.
(3) A number of agencies have policies to encourage public dissemination of the results of work supported by the agency through publication in government or other publications of technical reports of contractors or others. In recognition of the fact that such publication, if it included descriptions of a subject invention could create bars to obtaining patent protection, it is the policy of the executive branch that agencies will not include in such publication programs copies of disclosures of inventions submitted by small business firms or nonprofit organizations, pursuant to paragraph (c) of the standard clause found at § 401.14(a), except that under the same circumstances under which agencies are authorized to release such information pursuant to FOIA requests under paragraph (c)(1) of this section, agencies may publish such disclosures.
(4) Nothing in this paragraph is intended to preclude agencies from including in the publication activities described in the first sentence of paragraph (c)(3), the publication of materials describing a subject invention to the extent such materials were provided as part of a technical report or other submission of the contractor which were submitted independently of the requirements of the patent rights provisions of the contract. However, if a small business firm or nonprofit organization notifies the agency that a particular report or other submission contains a disclosure of a subject invention to which it has elected title or may elect title, the agency shall use reasonable efforts to restrict its publication of the material for six months from date of its receipt of the report or submission or, if earlier, until the contractor has filed an initial patent application. Agencies, of course, retain the discretion to delay publication for additional periods of time.
(5) Nothing in this paragraph is intended to limit the authority of agencies provided in 35 U.S.C. 205 in circumstances not specifically described in this paragraph.
[52 FR 8554, Mar. 18, 1987, as amended at 60 FR 41812, Aug. 14, 1995]
Title 37 published on 2012-07-01
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