37 CFR § 401.10 - Government assignment to contractor of rights in invention of government employee.

§ 401.10 Government assignment to contractor of rights in invention of government employee.

(a) In any case when a Federal employee is a co-inventor of any invention made under a funding agreement with a contractor:

(1) If the Federal agency employing such co-inventor transfers or reassigns to the contractor the right it has acquired in the subject invention from its employee as authorized by 35 U.S.C. 202(e), the assignment will be made subject to the patent rights clause of the contractor's funding agreement.

(2) The Federal agency employing such co-inventor, in consultation with the contractor, may submit an initial patent application, provided that the contractor retains the right to elect to retain title pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 202(a).

(3) When a Federal employee is a co-inventor of a subject invention developed with contractor-employed co-inventors under a funding agreement from another agency:

(i) The funding agency will notify the agency employing a Federal co-inventor of any report of invention and whether the contractor elects to retain title.

(ii) If the contractor does not elect to retain title to the subject invention, the funding agency must promptly provide notice to the agency employing a Federal co-inventor, and to the extent practicable, at least 60 days before any statutory bar date.

(iii) Upon notification by the funding agency of a subject invention in which the contractor has not elected to retain title, the agency employing a Federal co-inventor must determine if there is a government interest in patenting the invention and will notify the funding agency of its determination.

(iv) If the agency employing a Federal co-inventor determines there is a government interest in patenting the subject invention in which the contractor has not elected to retain title, the funding agency must provide administrative assistance (but is not required to provide financial assistance) to the agency employing a Federal co-inventor in acquiring rights from the contractor in order to file an initial patent application.

(v) The agency employing a Federal co-inventor has priority for patenting over funding agencies that do not have a Federal co-inventor when the contractor has not elected to retain title.

(vi) When the contractor has not elected to retain title, the funding agency and the agency employing a Federal co-inventor shall consult in order to ensure that the intent of the programmatic objectives conducted under the funding agreement is represented in any patenting decisions. The agency employing a Federal co-inventor may transfer patent management responsibilities to the funding agency.

(4) Federal agencies employing such co-inventors may enter into an agreement with a contractor when an agency determines it is a suitable and necessary step to protect and administer rights on behalf of the Federal Government, pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 202(e).

(5) Federal agencies employing such co-inventors will retain all ownership rights to which they are otherwise entitled if the contractor elects to retain title to the subject invention.

(b) Agencies may add additional conditions as long as they are consistent with 35 U.S.C. 201-206.

(c) Nothing in this section shall supersede any existing inter-institutional agreements between a contractor and a Federal agency for the management of jointly-owned subject inventions.

[83 FR 15961, Apr. 13, 2018]

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