U.S. Patent Act
..Part II. Patentabililty of Inventions and Grant of Patents
....Chapt. 18. Inventions Made With Federal Assistance
(a) Each Federal agency is authorized to-
(1) apply for, obtain, and maintain patents or other forms of protection in the United States and in foreign countries on inventions in which the Federal Government owns a right, title, or interest;
(2) grant nonexclusive, exclusive, or partially exclusive licenses under federally owned patent applications, patents, or other forms of protection obtained, royalty-free or for royalties or other consideration, and on such terms and conditions, including the grant to the licensee of the right of enforcement pursuant to the provisions of chapter 29 of this title [35 USCS Sects. 281 et seq.] as determined appropriate in the public interest;
(3) undertake all other suitable and necessary steps to protect and administer rights to federally owned inventions on behalf of the Federal Government either directly or through contract; and
(4) transfer custody and administration, in whole or in part, to another Federal agency, of the right, title or interest in any federally owned invention.
(b) For the purpose of assuring the effective management of Government-owned inventions, the Secretary of Commerce is authorized to-
(1) assist Federal agency efforts to promote the licensing and utilization of Government-owned inventions;
(2) assist Federal agencies in seeking protection and maintaining inventions in foreign countries, including the payment of fees and costs connected therewith; and
(3) consult with and advise Federal agencies as to areas of science and technology research and development with potential for commercial utilization.