32 CFR § 37.860 - What rights should I obtain for inventions?

§ 37.860 What rights should I obtain for inventions?

(a) You should negotiate rights in inventions that represent a good balance between the Government's interests (see § 37.840(b)) and the recipient's interests. As explained in appendix B to this part:

(1) You have the flexibility to negotiate patent rights provisions that vary from what the Bayh-Dole statute (Chapter 18 of Title 35, U.S.C.) requires in many situations. You have that flexibility because TIAs include not only cooperative agreements, but also assistance transactions other than grants or cooperative agreements.

(2) Your TIA becomes an assistance instrument other than a grant or cooperative agreement if its patent rights provision varies from what Bayh-Dole requires in your situation. However, you need not consider that difference in the type of transaction until the agreement is finalized, and it should not affect the provision you negotiate.

(b) As long as it is consistent with the balance between DoD interests described in § 37.840(b) and the recipient's interests, you should seek to obtain for the Government, when an invention is conceived or first actually reduced to practice under a TIA, a nonexclusive, nontransferrable, irrevocable, paid-up license to practice the invention, or to have it practiced, for or on behalf of the United States throughout the world. The license is for Governmental purposes, and does not include the right to practice the invention for commercial purposes.

(c) To provide for the license described in paragraph (b) of this section, your TIA generally would include the patent-rights clause that 37 CFR 401.14 specifies to implement the Bayh-Dole statute's requirements. Note that:

(1) The clause is designed specifically for grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements awarded to small businesses and nonprofit organizations, the types of funding instruments and recipients to which the entire Bayh-Dole statute applies. As explained in appendix B to this part, only two Bayh-Dole requirements (in 35 U.S.C. sections 202(c)(4) and 203) apply to cooperative agreements with other performers, by virtue of an amendment to Bayh-Dole at 35 U.S.C. 210(c).

(2) You may use the same clause, suitably modified, in cooperative agreements with performers other than small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Doing so is consistent with a 1983 Presidential memorandum that calls for giving other performers rights in inventions from Federally supported research that are at least as great as the rights that Bayh-Dole gives to small businesses and nonprofit organizations (see appendix B to this part for details). That Presidential memorandum is incorporated by reference in Executive Order 12591 (52 FR 13414, 3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p. 220), as amended by Executive Order 12618 (52 FR 48661, 3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p. 262).

(3) The clause provides for flow-down of Bayh-Dole patent-rights provisions to subawards with small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

(4) There are provisions in 37 CFR part 401 stating when you must include the clause (37 CFR 401.3) and, in cases when it is required, how you may modify and tailor it (37 CFR 401.5).

(d) You may negotiate Government rights of a different scope than the standard patent-rights provision described in paragraph (c) of this section when necessary to accomplish program objectives and foster the Government's interests. If you do so:

(1) With the help of the program manager and legal counsel, you must decide what best represents a reasonable arrangement considering the circumstances, including past investments, contributions under the current TIA, and potential commercial markets. Taking past investments as an example, you should consider whether the Government or the recipient has contributed more substantially to the prior research and development that provides the foundation for the planned effort. If the predominant past contributor to the particular technology has been:

(i) The Government, then the TIA's patent-rights provision should be at or close to the standard Bayh-Dole provision.

(ii) The recipient, then a less restrictive patent provision may be appropriate, to allow the recipient to benefit more directly from its investments.

(2) You should keep in mind that obtaining a nonexclusive license at the time of award, as described in paragraph (b) of this section, is valuable if the Government later requires access to inventions to enable development of defense-unique products or processes that the commercial marketplace is not addressing. If you do not obtain a license at the time of award, you should consider alternative approaches to ensure access, such as negotiating a priced option for obtaining nonexclusive licenses in the future to inventions that are conceived or reduced to practice under the TIA.

(3) You also may consider whether you want to provide additional flexibility by giving the recipient more time than the standard patent-rights provision does to:

(i) Notify the Government of an invention, from the time the inventor discloses it within the for-profit firm.

(ii) Inform the Government whether it intends to take title to the invention.

(iii) Commercialize the invention, before the Government license rights in the invention become effective.