45 CFR § 650.4 - Standard patent rights clause.

§ 650.4 Standard patent rights clause.

(a) The following Patent Rights clause will be used in every funding agreement awarded by the Foundation that relates to scientific or engineering research unless a special patent clause has been negotiated (see § 650.5).

Patent Rights (August, 2005)

(a) Definitions—(1) Invention means any invention or discovery which is or may be patentable or otherwise protectable under title 35 of the United States Code, to any novel variety of plant which is or may be protected under the Plant Variety Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 2321 et seq.).

(2) Subject invention means any invention of the grantee conceived or first actually reduced to practice in the performance of work under this grant, provided that in the case of a variety of plant, the date of determination (as defined in section 41(d) of the Plant Variety Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 2401(d)) must also occur during the period of grant performance.

(3) Practical application means to manufacture in the case of a composition or product, to practice in the case of a process or method, or to operate in the case of a machine or system; and, in each case, under such conditions as to establish that the invention is being utilized and that its benefits are to the extent permitted by law or Government regulations available to the public on reasonable terms.

(4) Made when used in relation to any invention means the conception or first actual reduction to practice of such invention.

(5) Small business firm means a domestic small business concern as defined at section 2 of Public Law 85-536 (15 U.S.C. 632) and implementing regulations of the Administrator of the Small Business Administration. For the purpose of this Patents Rights clause, the size standard for small business concerns involved in Government procurement and subcontracting at 13 CFR 121.3-8 and 13 CFR 121.3-12, respectively, will be used.

(6) Nonprofit organization means a domestic university or other institution of higher education or an organization of the type described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (26 U.S.C. 501(c)) and exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 501(a)) or any domestic nonprofit scientific or educational organization qualified under a State nonprofit organization statute.

(b) Allocation of Principal Rights. The grantee may retain the entire right, title, and interest throughout the world to each subject invention subject to the provisions of this Patents Rights clause and 35 U.S.C. 203. With respect to any subject invention in which the grantee retains title, the Federal Government shall have a nonexclusive, nontransferable, irrevocable, paid-up license to practice or have practiced for or on behalf of the United States the subject invention throughout the world. If the award indicates it is subject to an identified international agreement or treaty, the National Science Foundation (NSF) also has the right to direct the grantee to convey to any foreign participant such patent rights to subject inventions as are required to comply with that agreement or treaty.

(c) Invention Disclosure, Election of Title and Filing of Patent Applications by Grantee.

(1) The grantee will disclose each subject invention to NSF within two months after the inventor discloses it in writing to grantee personnel responsible for the administration of patent matters. The disclosure to NSF will be submitted via the iEdison Invention Information Management System maintained by the National Institutes of Health and shall identify the grant under which the invention was made and the inventor(s). It shall be sufficiently complete in technical detail to convey a clear understanding of the nature, purpose, operation, and, to the extent known, the physical, chemical, biological or electrical characteristics of the invention. The disclosure shall also identify any publication, on sale or public use of the invention and whether a manuscript describing the invention has been submitted for publication and, if so, whether it has been accepted for publication at the time of disclosure. In addition, after disclosure to NSF, the grantee will promptly notify NSF of the acceptance of any manuscript describing the invention for publication or of any on sale or public use planned by the grantee.

(2) The grantee will elect in writing whether or not to retain title to any such invention by notifying NSF within two years of disclosure to NSF. However, in any case where publication, on sale, or public use has initiated the one year statutory period wherein valid patent protection can still be obtained in the United States, the period for election of title may be shortened by NSF to a date that is no more than 60 days prior to the end of the statutory period.

(3) The grantee will file its initial patent application on an invention to which it elects to retain title within one year after election of title or, if earlier, prior to the end of any statutory period wherein valid patent protection can be obtained in the United States after a publication, on sale, or public use. The grantee will file patent applications in additional countries or international patent offices within either ten months of the corresponding initial patent application, or six months from the date when permission is granted by the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks to file foreign patent applications when such filing has been prohibited by a Secrecy Order.

(4) Requests for extension of the time for disclosure to NSF, election, and filing under subparagraphs (c) (1), (2), and (3) of this clause may, at the discretion of NSF, be granted.

(d) Conditions When the Government May Obtain Title. The grantee will convey to NSF, upon written request, title to any subject invention:

(1) If the grantee fails to disclose or elect the subject invention within the times specified in paragraph (c) above, or elects not to retain title; provided that NSF may only request title within 60 days after learning of the failure of the grantee to disclose or elect within the specified times.

(2) In those countries in which the grantee fails to file patent applications within the times specified in paragraph (c) above; provided, however, that if the grantee has filed a patent application in a country after the times specified in paragraph (c) above, but prior to its receipt of the written request of NSF, the grantee shall continue to retain title in that country.

(3) In any country in which the grantee decides not to continue the prosecution of any application for, to pay the maintenance fees on, or defend in a reexamination or opposition proceeding on, a patent on a subject invention.

(e) Minimum Rights to Grantee.

(1) The grantee will retain a nonexclusive royalty-free license throughout the world in each subject invention to which the Government obtains title, except if the grantee fails to disclose the subject invention within the times specified in paragraph (c) above. The grantee's license extends to its domestic subsidiaries and affiliates, if any, within the corporate structure of which the grantee is a party and includes the right to grant sublicenses of the same scope to the extent the grantee was legally obligated to do so at the time the grant was awarded. The license is transferable only with the approval of NSF except when transferred to the successor of that part of the grantee's business to which the invention pertains.

(2) The grantee's domestic license may be revoked or modified by NSF to the extent necessary to achieve expeditious practical application of the subject invention pursuant to an application for an exclusive license submitted in accordance with applicable provisions at 37 CFR part 404. This license will not be revoked in that field of use or the geographical areas in which the grantee has achieved practical application and continues to make the benefits of the invention reasonably accessible to the public. The license in any foreign country may be revoked or modified at the discretion of NSF to the extent the grantee, its licensees, or its domestic subsidiaries or affiliates have failed to achieve practical application in that foreign country.

(3) Before revocation or modification of the license, NSF will furnish the grantee a written notice of its intention to revoke or modify the license, and the grantee will be allowed thirty days (or such other time as may be authorized by NSF for good cause shown by the grantee) after the notice to show cause why the license should not be revoked or modified. The grantee has the right to appeal, in accordance with applicable regulations in 37 CFR part 404 concerning the licensing of Government-owned inventions, any decision concerning the revocation or modification of its license.

(f) Grantee Action to Protect Government's Interest.

(1) The grantee agrees to execute or to have executed and promptly deliver to NSF all instruments necessary to:

(i) Establish or confirm the rights the Government has throughout the world in those subject inventions for which the grantee retains title, and

(ii) Convey title to NSF when requested under paragraph (d) above, and to enable the Government to obtain patent protection throughout the world in that subject invention.

(2) The grantee agrees to require, by written agreement, its employees, other than clerical and non-technical employees, to disclose promptly in writing to personnel identified as responsible for the administration of patent matters and in a format suggested by the grantee each subject invention made under this grant in order that the grantee can comply with the disclosure provisions of paragraph (c) above, and to execute all papers necessary to file patent applications on subject inventions and to establish the Government's rights in the subject inventions. The disclosure format should require, at a minimum, the information requested by paragraph (c)(1) above. The grantee shall instruct such employees through the employee agreements or other suitable educational programs on the importance of reporting inventions in sufficient time to permit the filing of patent applications prior to U.S. or foreign statutory bars.

(3) The grantee will notify NSF of any decision not to continue prosecution of a patent application, pay maintenance fees, or defend in a reexamination or opposition proceeding on a patent, in any country, not less than thirty days before the expiration of the response period required by the relevant patent office.

(4) The grantee agrees to include, within the specification of any United States patent application and any patent issuing thereon covering a subject invention, the following statement: “This invention was made with Government support under (identify the grant) awarded by the National Science Foundation. The Government has certain rights in this invention.”

(5) The grantee or its representative will complete, execute, and submit electronically to NSF via the iEdison Invention Information Management System maintained by the National Institutes of Health a confirmation of a License to the United States Government and the page of a United States patent application that contains the Federal support clause within two months of filing any domestic or foreign patent application.

(g) Subcontracts.

(1) The grantee will include this Patents Rights clause, suitably modified to identify the parties, in all subcontracts, regardless of tier, for experimental, developmental, or research work. The subcontractor will retain all rights provided for the grantee in this Patents Rights clause, and the grantee will not, as part of the consideration for awarding the subcontract, obtain rights in the subcontractor's subject inventions.

(2) In the case of subcontracts, at any tier, when the prime award by the Foundation was a contract (but not a grant or cooperative agreement), NSF, subcontractor, and contractor agree that the mutual obligations of the parties created by this Patents Rights clause constitute a contract between the subcontractor and the Foundation with respect to those matters covered by this Patents Rights clause.

(h) Reporting on Utilization of Subject Inventions. The grantee agrees to submit on request periodic reports no more frequently than annually on the utilization of a subject invention or on efforts at obtaining such utilization that are being made by the grantee or its licensees or assignees. Such reports shall include information regarding the status of development, date of first commercial sale or use, gross royalties received by the grantee, and such other data and information as NSF may reasonably specify. The grantee also agrees to provide additional reports in connection with any march-in proceeding undertaken by NSF in accordance with paragraph (j) of this Patents Rights clause. As required by 35 U.S.C. 202(c)(5), NSF agrees it will not disclose such information to persons outside the Government without the permission of the grantee.

(i) Preference for United States Industry. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Patents Rights clause, the grantee agrees that neither it nor any assignee will grant to any person the exclusive right to use or sell any subject invention in the United States unless such person agrees that any products embodying the subject invention or produced through the use of the subject invention will be manufactured substantially in the United States. However, in individual cases, the requirement for such an agreement may be waived by NSF upon a showing by the grantee or its assignee that reasonable but unsuccessful efforts have been made to grant licenses on similar terms to potential licensees that would be likely to manufacture substantially in the United States or that under the circumstances domestic manufacture is not commercially feasible.

(j) March-in Rights. The grantee agrees that with respect to any subject invention in which it has acquired title, NSF has the right in accordance with procedures at 37 CFR 401.6 and NSF regulations at 45 CFR 650.13 to require the grantee, an assignee or exclusive licensee of a subject invention to grant a nonexclusive, partially exclusive, or exclusive license in any field of use to a responsible applicant or applicants, upon terms that are reasonable under the circumstances, and if the grantee, assignee, or exclusive licensee refuses such a request, NSF has the right to grant such a license itself if NSF determines that:

(1) Such action is necessary because the grantee or assignee has not taken, or is not expected to take within a reasonable time, effective steps to achieve practical application of the subject invention in such field of use;

(2) Such action is necessary to alleviate health or safety needs which are not reasonably satisfied by the grantee, assignee, or their licensees;

(3) Such action is necessary to meet requirements for public use specified by Federal regulations and such requirements are not reasonably satisfied by the grantee, assignee, or licensee; or

(4) Such action is necessary because the agreement required by paragraph (i) of this Patents Rights clause has not been obtained or waived or because a licensee of the exclusive right to use or sell any subject invention in the United States is in breach of such agreement.

(k) Special Provisions for Grants with Nonprofit Organizations. If the grantee is a nonprofit organization, it agrees that:

(1) Rights to a subject invention in the United States may not be assigned without the approval of NSF, except where such assignment is made to an organization which has as one of its primary functions the management of inventions, provided that such assignee will be subject to the same provisions as the grantee;

(2) The grantee will share royalties collected on a subject invention with the inventor, including Federal employee co-inventors (when NSF deems it appropriate) when the subject invention is assigned in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 202(e) and 37 CFR 401.10;

(3) The balance of any royalties or income earned by the grantee with respect to subject inventions, after payment of expenses (including payments to inventors) incidental to the administration of subject inventions, will be utilized for the support of scientific research or education; and

(4) It will make efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to attract licensees of subject inventions that are small business firms and that it will give preference to a small business firm if the grantee determines that the small business firm has a plan or proposal for marketing the invention which, if executed, is equally likely to bring the invention to practical application as any plans or proposals from applicants that are not small business firms; provided that the grantee is also satisfied that the small business firm has the capability and resources to carry out it plan or proposal. The decision whether to give a preference in any specific case will be at the discretion of the grantee. However, the grantee agrees that the Secretary of Commerce may review the grantee's licensing program and decisions regarding small business applicants, and the grantee will negotiate changes to its licensing policies, procedures, or practices with the Secretary when the Secretary's review discloses that the grantee could take reasonable steps to implement more effectively the requirements of this paragraph (k)(4).

(1) Communications. All communications required by this Patents Rights clause must be submitted through the iEdison Invention Information Management System maintained by the National Institutes of Health unless prior permission for another form of submission is obtained from the Patent Assistant at patents@nsf.gov or at Office of the General Counsel, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22230.

(b) When the above Patent Rights clause is used in a funding agreement other than a grant, “grant” and “grantee” may be replaced by “contract” and “contractor” or other appropriate terms.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 3145-0084)
[57 FR 18053, Apr. 28, 1992, as amended at 59 FR 37438, July 22, 1994; 62 FR 49938, Sept. 24, 1997; 70 FR 43071, July 26, 2005]