Thursday, November 23, 2017

Patents and Licenses Home

A patent for an invention is a grant of a property right by the government to the inventor, who may assign his or her rights to others. It gives the owner of the patent the right, among other things, to exclude anyone else from making, using, or selling the invention for the life of the patent. Patents are issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and are valid throughout the United States.

Why Patent?

  • To protect mission-critical technology

  • To pursue licensing and commercialization of the technology or spin-offs

  • To increase lab status

  • To accrue royalties for the invention

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act was signed September 16, 2011, and is the most significant change to U.S. Patent system since 1956.  It switches U.S. rights to a patent from the present "first-to-invent" system to a "first inventor-to-file" system for patent applications filed on or after March 16, 2013.  It also expands the definition of prior art used in determining patentability.

A license is a contract between a licensor (e.g., the holder of a patent) and a licensee (e.g., an industry partner) that ensures the licensee that the licensor will not sue the licensee for patent infringement. In other words, NOAA agrees not to sue the industry partner for infringing NOAA’s patent. It is the federal government's technology transfer policy to promote the use and commercialization of inventions that arise from agency-supported R&D. The licensing of government-owned patents is one tool to achieve this goal.

Types of Licenses:

  • Non-Exclusive: preferred type. No FR notice required.

  • Partially Exclusive: limited field of use or area.  FR notice required.

  • Exclusive: sole right to use, manufacture, and sell.  FR notice required.

To request a license for a NOAA technology, please submit the a license request form to the TPO.