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National Inventors Month: Tech Transfer

A black and white illustration of a light bulb with different sized and shaped gears as the bulb
Credit: Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

The month of May not only signifies the end of Spring, but also highlights the beginnings of new ideas and creations since it has been nationally recognized as National Inventors Month. The United Inventors Association of the USA, the Academy of Applied Science and Inventors' Digest magazine designed and established this celebratory month back in 1998. The purpose of this recognition is to promote innovations, as well as the inventors who designed them. However, before these inventions can shine, there are many behind-the-scenes steps that need to be taken.

The Technology Partnerships Office (TPO) at NIST is one such department working behind the scenes promoting these innovations. TPO works with federal researchers, scientists and engineers to discover inventions and patents that could be transferred to the private sector. By doing this, TPO can build and sustain technology partnering activities between NIST and U.S. industries. This a microcosm of what is happening around the nation.

At an even larger level, the Federal Labs Consortium (FLC), which pulls together over 300 laboratories and federal agencies to collaborate on commercializing inventions from federal researchers, sets forth the goals of creating partnerships within the public and the private sectors. FLC, documents in their Green Book on Tech Transfer, the following goals of tech transfer:

  • Promote inventions arising from federally supported research or development
  • Encourage participation of small business in federally supported research and development efforts
  • Promote collaboration between commercial and nonprofit organizations
  • Ensure that inventions are used in a manner to promote free competition and enterprise
  • Promote the commercialization and public availability of inventions made in the United States by United States industry and labor
  • Ensure that the Government obtains sufficient rights in federally supported inventions to meet the needs of the Government and protect the public against nonuse or unreasonable use of inventions
  • Minimize the costs of administering policies in this area


These organizations help set into motion the framework from which inventions can be discovered and thrive from investors, which further drives the U.S. economy. Promoting the transfer of technology is a major aspect in the cycle of getting inventions out of the lab and into the market.

Released May 6, 2020