(a) Vesting of title to invention and issuance of patents to United States; prerequisites
Whenever any invention is made or conceived in the course of or under any contract of the Department, other than nuclear energy research, development, and demonstration pursuant to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.) and the Secretary determines that—
(1)the person who made the invention was employed or assigned to perform research, development, or demonstration work and the invention is related to the work he was employed or assigned to perform, or that it was within the scope of his employment duties, whether or not it was made during working hours, or with a contribution by the Government of the use of Government facilities, equipment, materials, allocated funds, information proprietary to the Government, or services of Government employees during working hours; or
(2)the person who made the invention was not employed or assigned to perform research, development, or demonstration work, but the invention is nevertheless related to the contract or to the work or duties he was employed or assigned to perform, and was made during working hours, or with a contribution from the Government of the sort referred to in clause (1).
title to such invention shall vest in the United States, and if patents on such invention are issued they shall be issued to the United States, unless in particular circumstances the Secretary waives all or any part of the rights of the United States to such invention in conformity with the provisions of this section.
(b) Contract as requiring report to Department of invention, etc., made in course of contract
Each contract entered into by the Department with any person shall contain effective provisions under which such person shall furnish promptly to the Department a written report containing full and complete technical information concerning any invention, discovery, improvement, or innovation which may be made in the course of or under such contract.
(c) Waiver by Secretary of rights of United States; regulations prescribing procedures; record of waiver determinations; objectives
Under such regulations in conformity with the provisions of this section as the Secretary shall prescribe, the Secretary may waive all or any part of the rights of the United States under this section with respect to any invention or class of inventions made or which may be made by any person or class of persons in the course of or under any contract of the Department if he determines that the interests of the United States and the general public will be best served by such waiver. The Department shall maintain a publicly available, periodically updated record of waiver determinations. In making such determinations, the Secretary shall have the following objectives:
(1)Making the benefits of the energy research, development, and demonstration program widely available to the public in the shortest practicable time.
(2)Promoting the commercial utilization of such inventions.
(3)Encouraging participation by private persons in the Department’s energy research, development, and demonstration program.
(4)Fostering competition and preventing undue market concentration or the creation or maintenance of other situations inconsistent with the antitrust laws.
(d) Considerations applicable at time of contracting for waiver determination by Secretary
In determining whether a waiver to the contractor at the time of contracting will best serve the interests of the United States and the general public, the Secretary shall specifically include as considerations—
(1)the extent to which the participation of the contractor will expedite the attainment of the purposes of the program;
(2)the extent to which a waiver of all or any part of such rights in any or all fields of technology is needed to secure the participation of the particular contractor;
(3)the extent to which the contractor’s commercial position may expedite utilization of the research, development, and demonstration program results;
(4)the extent to which the Government has contributed to the field of technology to be funded under the contract;
(5)the purpose and nature of the contract, including the intended use of the results developed thereunder;
(6)the extent to which the contractor has made or will make substantial investment of financial resources or technology developed at the contractor’s private expense which will directly benefit the work to be performed under the contract;
(7)the extent to which the field of technology to be funded under the contract has been developed at the contractor’s private expense;
(8)the extent to which the Government intends to further develop to the point of commercial utilization the results of the contract effort;
(9)the extent to which the contract objectives are concerned with the public health, public safety, or public welfare;
(10)the likely effect of the waiver on competition and market concentration; and
(11)in the case of a nonprofit educational institution, the extent to which such institution has a technology transfer capability and program, approved by the Secretary as being consistent with the applicable policies of this section.
(e) Considerations applicable to identified invention for waiver determination by Secretary
In determining whether a waiver to the contractor or inventor or rights to an identified invention will best serve the interests of the United States and the general public, the Secretary shall specifically include as considerations paragraphs (4) through (11) of subsection (d) of this section as applied to the invention and—
(1)the extent to which such waiver is a reasonable and necessary incentive to call forth private risk capital for the development and commercialization of the invention; and
(2)the extent to which the plans, intentions, and ability of the contractor or inventor will obtain expeditious commercialization of such invention.
(f) Rights subject to reservation where title to invention vested in United States
Whenever title to an invention is vested in the United States, there may be reserved to the contractor or inventor—
(1)a revocable or irrevocable nonexclusive, paid-up license for the practice of the invention throughout the world; and
(2)the rights to such invention in any foreign country where the United States has elected not to secure patent rights and the contractor elects to do so, subject to the rights set forth in paragraphs (2), (3), (6), and (7) of subsection (h) of this section: Provided, That when specifically requested by the Department and three years after issuance of such a patent, the contractor shall submit the report specified in subsection (h)(1) of this section.
(g) to (i) Repealed. Pub. L. 96–517, § 7(c),Dec. 12, 1980, 94 Stat. 3027
(j) Small business status of applicant for waiver or licenses
The Secretary shall, in granting waivers or licenses, consider the small business status of the applicant.
(k) Protection of invention, etc., rights by Secretary
The Secretary is authorized to take all suitable and necessary steps to protect any invention or discovery to which the United States holds title, and to require that contractors or persons who acquire rights to inventions under this section protect such inventions.
(l) Department as defense agency of United States for purpose of maintaining secrecy of inventions
The Department shall be considered a defense agency of the United States for the purpose of chapter
17 of title
As used in this section—
(1)the term “person” means any individual, partnership, corporation, association, institution, or other entity;
(2)the term “contract” means any contract, grant, agreement, understanding, or other arrangement, which includes research, development, or demonstration work, and includes any assignment, substitution of parties, or subcontract executed or entered into thereunder;
(3)the term “made”, when used in relation to any invention, means the conception or first actual reduction to practice of such invention;
(4)the term “invention” means inventions or discoveries, whether patented or unpatented; and
(5)the term “contractor” means any person having a contract with or on behalf of the Department.
(n) Report concerning applicability of existing patent policies to energy programs; time for submission to President and appropriate congressional committees
Within twelve months after December 31, 1974, the Secretary with the participation of the Attorney General, the Secretary of Commerce, and other officials as the President may designate, shall submit to the President and the appropriate congressional committees a report concerning the applicability of existing patent policies affecting the programs under this chapter, along with his recommendations for amendments or additions to the statutory patent policy, including his recommendations on mandatory licensing, which he deems advisable for carrying out the purposes of this chapter.
The Atomic Energy Act of 1954, referred to in subsec. (a), is act Aug. 1, 1946, ch. 724, as added by act Aug. 30, 1954, ch. 1073, § 1,68 Stat. 921, and amended, which is classified generally to chapter 23 (§ 2011 et seq.) of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section
2011 of this title and Tables.
2005—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 109–58, § 1009(b)(7)(B), substituted “Secretary” for “Administrator” in introductory and concluding provisions.
Pub. L. 109–58, § 1009(b)(7)(A), substituted “Department” for “Administration” in introductory provisions.
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 109–58, § 1009(b)(7)(A), substituted “Department” for “Administration” in two places.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 109–58, § 1009(b)(7)(B), substituted “Secretary” for “Administrator” wherever appearing in introductory provisions.
Pub. L. 109–58, § 1009(b)(7)(A), substituted “Department” for “Administration” in two places in introductory provisions.
Subsec. (c)(3). Pub. L. 109–58, § 1009(b)(7)(C), substituted “Department’s” for “Administration’s”.
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 109–58, § 1009(b)(7)(B), substituted “Secretary” for “Administrator” in introductory provisions and par. (11).
Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 109–58, § 1009(b)(7)(B), substituted “Secretary” for “Administrator” in introductory provisions.
Subsec. (f)(2). Pub. L. 109–58, § 1009(b)(7)(A), substituted “Department” for “Administration”.
Subsecs. (j), (k). Pub. L. 109–58, § 1009(b)(7)(B), substituted “Secretary” for “Administrator”.
Subsec. (l). Pub. L. 109–58, § 1009(b)(7)(A), substituted “Department” for “Administration”.
Subsec. (m)(5). Pub. L. 109–58, § 1009(b)(7)(A), substituted “Department” for “Administration”.
Subsec. (n). Pub. L. 109–58, § 1009(b)(7)(B), substituted “Secretary with” for “Administrator with”.
1980—Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 96–517struck out subsec. (g) which related to licenses for inventions, promulgation of regulations specifying terms and conditions, criteria and procedures for grant of exclusive or partially exclusive licenses, and record of determinations.
Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 96–517struck out subsec. (h) which related to required terms and conditions in waiver of rights or grant of exclusive or partially exclusive license.
Subsec. (i). Pub. L. 96–517struck out subsec. (i) which related to publication in the Federal Register by the Administrator of waiver or license termination hearing requirements and availability of records.
Effective Date of 1980 Amendment
Amendment by Pub. L. 96–517effective July 1, 1981, but implementing regulations authorized to be issued earlier, see section 8(f) ofPub. L. 96–517, set out as a note under section
41 of Title
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