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NIST Launches New iEdison System for Reporting Federally Funded Inventions

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GAITHERSBURG, Md. — To promote the transfer of technology from laboratory to marketplace, the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has redesigned the online platform where organizations report their taxpayer-funded inventions. The new Interagency Edison system, or iEdison, includes a modernized user interface and new functionality and security features that will make it easier for government grantees and contractors to comply with the reporting requirements of the Bayh-Dole Act.

The U.S. government invests more than $150 billion via grants and funding agreements each year to support research and development at the nation’s universities and other nonfederal organizations. More than 8,500 inventions and 21,000 patents were added to iEdison in 2021 alone.

“The inventions listed in iEdison create immense economic value for the nation, support jobs and improve our quality of life,” said Mojdeh Bahar, NIST’s associate director for innovation and industry services. “The new upgrades to the iEdison system will help inventors, awardees and the government manage these investments efficiently and transparently.”

The Bayh-Dole Act requires that awardees inform the federal government of inventions arising from federal support. In addition to reporting their inventions, organizations use iEdison to request extensions and waivers, report progress and inform the government of its limited use rights to patents on taxpayer-funded inventions. 

The updated iEdison system includes a modernized user interface and new messaging features that make it easier for organizations to communicate with their funding agencies. It also includes an expanded application programming interface, or API, that will allow organizations to automate some reporting tasks. In addition, the new system is integrated with information systems at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for easier updating of patent information.

“These upgrades will make it easier for recipients to comply with their reporting obligations and for federal agencies protect the public’s investment in research and development,” said Bethany Loftin, NIST’s project leader for the iEdison system and interagency and iEdison specialist within the Technology Partnerships Office at NIST.

In 2016, the U.S. National Academies recommended that responsibility for iEdison be transferred from the National Institutes of Health, which developed the system in 1995, to the Department of Commerce. NIST was selected to implement the upgrade and host the system because of its role in advancing U.S. innovation. Among other things, NIST co-chairs the National Science and Technology Council’s Lab-to-Market subcommittee and has the authority to issue Bayh-Dole regulations. 

NIST began working on the update in December 2019. The legacy NIH system shut down on Aug. 2, 2022, and the new system, hosted by NIST, went live on Aug. 9.

Released August 9, 2022, Updated February 22, 2023