15 U.S. Code § 3719 - Prize competitions
The term “Federal agency” has the meaning given under section 3703 of this title, except that term shall not include any agency of the legislative branch of the Federal Government.
Each head of an agency, or the heads of multiple agencies in cooperation, may carry out a program to award prizes competitively to stimulate innovation that has the potential to advance the mission of the respective agency.
In selecting topics for prize competitions, the head of an agency shall consult widely both within and outside the Federal Government, and may empanel advisory committees.
The head of an agency shall widely advertise each prize competition to encourage broad participation.
An individual or entity shall not be deemed ineligible under subsection (g) because the individual or entity used Federal facilities or consulted with Federal employees during a competition if the facilities and employees are made available to all individuals and entities participating in the competition on an equitable basis.
In this paragraph, the term “related entity” means a contractor or subcontractor at any tier, and a supplier, user, customer, cooperating party, grantee, investigator, or detailee.
Registered participants shall be required to agree to assume any and all risks and waive claims against the Federal Government and its related entities, except in the case of willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from their participation in a competition, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise.
The Federal Government may not gain an interest in intellectual property developed by a participant in a competition without the written consent of the participant.
For each competition, the head of an agency, either directly or through an agreement under subsection (l), shall appoint one or more qualified judges to select the winner or winners of the prize competition on the basis described under subsection (f). Judges for each competition may include individuals from outside the agency, including from the private sector.
The heads of agencies who carry out competitions under this section shall develop guidelines to ensure that the judges appointed for such competitions are fairly balanced and operate in a transparent manner.
The head of an agency may enter into an agreement with a private, nonprofit entity to administer a prize competition, subject to the provisions of this section.
Support for a prize competition under this section, including financial support for the design and administration of a prize or funds for a monetary prize purse, may consist of Federal appropriated funds and funds provided by the private sector for such cash prizes. The head of an agency may accept funds from other Federal agencies to support such competitions. The head of an agency may not give any special consideration to any private sector entity in return for a donation.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, funds appropriated for prize awards under this section shall remain available until expended. No provision in this section permits obligation or payment of funds in violation of section 1341 of title 31.
No prize may be announced under subsection (f) until all the funds needed to pay out the announced amount of the prize have been appropriated or committed in writing by a private source.
No prize competition under this section may offer a prize in an amount greater than $50,000,000 unless 30 days have elapsed after written notice has been transmitted to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives.
Not later than 180 days after January 4, 2011, the General Services Administration shall provide government wide services to share best practices and assist agencies in developing guidelines for issuing prize competitions. The General Services Administration shall develop a contract vehicle to provide agencies access to relevant products and services, including technical assistance in structuring and conducting prize competitions to take maximum benefit of the marketplace as they identify and pursue prize competitions to further the policy objectives of the Federal Government.
The Federal Government shall not, by virtue of offering or providing a prize under this section, be responsible for compliance by registered participants in a prize competition with Federal law, including licensing, export control, and nonproliferation laws, and related regulations.
Not later than March 1 of each year, the Director shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives a report on the activities carried out during the preceding fiscal year under the authority in subsection (b).
An analysis of why the utilization of the authority in subsection (b) was the preferable method of achieving the goals described in subparagraph (A) as opposed to other authorities available to the agency, such as contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements.
The total amount of cash prizes awarded for each prize competition, including a description of amount of private funds contributed to the program, the sources of such funds, and the manner in which the amounts of cash prizes awarded and claimed were allocated among the accounts of the agency for recording as obligations and expenditures.
The methods used for the solicitation and evaluation of submissions under each prize competition, together with an assessment of the effectiveness of such methods and lessons learned for future prize competitions.
A description of the resources, including personnel and funding, used in the execution of each prize competition together with a detailed description of the activities for which such resources were used and an accounting of how funding for execution was allocated among the accounts of the agency for recording as obligations and expenditures.
 So in original. Probably should be “Services”.
Committee on Science and Technology of House of Representatives changed to Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of House of Representatives by House Resolution No. 5, One Hundred Twelfth Congress, Jan. 5, 2011.
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