The Technology Partnerships Office (TPO) prepares, negotiates and manages licenses inventions owned by NIST. To view a list of the inventions owned by NIST, visit TPO's NISTTech page. NIST may grant licenses for commercial purposes either exclusively or non-exclusively for a specific field of use. For research purposes, NIST grants only non-exclusive licenses. For further information, please contact a License Officer at TPO. A summary of some of the license types available is provided in the table below. NIST's model license agreements are available for review, although the terms and conditions may be modified for a specific license on a case-by-case basis.
|Science/Technology Advancement Research (STAR) License||Small Business Innovation Research-Technology Transfer (SBIR-STAR) License||Technology Acceleration and Growth (TAG) License||Science/Technology for Entrepreneurship Program (STEP) License|
● No-cost non-exclusive field-of-use research licenses to explore and advance the development of NIST technologies for eventual commercialization
● No fees or payments for research purposes
● Can be converted to a commercialization license (exclusive or non-exclusive) with financial terms negotiated
● NIST may issue licenses to another party for research or commercialization
● Available through the NIST SBIR Program
● Subtopics designated as "TT" for technology transfer
● SBIR awards resulting from "TT" subtopics will include, as necessary, a STAR license for work identified within the "TT" subtopic being awarded
● Awardees will be given the opportunity to negotiate a commercialization license to background inventions
● NIST technology not licensed within the fives years of the patent issue date
● Only available to domestic business or organizations
● Designated technologies available under this program at: https://tsapps.nist.gov/techtransfer/
● One-year field of use-limited exclusive commercialization license for a $1,000 execution fee
● Convertible into an exclusive license for the term of the patent life upon negotiation of fees and terms
● Small business license agreement to help attract investors and develop early stage technologies
● Domestic companies that are less than 5 years old have fewer than 25 employees and less than $2M in capital (does not include subsidiaries of larger companies)
● Non-exclusive commercialization license at no cost for the first year
● Exclusive licenses per TAG requirements but $500 execution fee
● Flexibility to meet the needs of growing companies in developing terms
How to Apply for a License
Parties interested in licensing a NIST-owned invention may contact a License Officer at NIST, or may complete a license application. Instructions on how to submit the license application are provided at the end of each application. When a license application is received by a License Officer, TPO will contact you regarding the licensing process and to obtain additional information that may be necessary for the application process. A license application should include the prospective licensee's intentions for research and development of the invention(s) and a description of the resources and technical capabilities of the prospective licensee to bring the invention to practical application.
The licensing process depends on whether or not an invention was conceived wholly or partially by NIST's employees in the performance of research conducted under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. For more information about CRADAs, please visit TPO's CRADA page. If a prospective licensee is interested in licensing an invention that arose under a CRADA or under a NIST-led Consortium, please contact a License Officer at TPO.
Based on the information provided in a license application received from a prospective licensee, TPO will prepare a license agreement for review by the prospective licensee. Any changes to the legal provisions of a license agreement may delay the process of finalizing the license agreement. After the License Officer at TPO and the prospective licensee discuss the terms of the license agreement, TPO will finalize the document for signatures. For any exclusive license, TPO is required to publish a public notice of its intent to grant the exclusive license to the federally-owned invention. The notice is published in the Federal Register and provides the public with fifteen (15) days to comment.
Modifying a License Agreement
Should a need arise to modify the terms of a license agreement, the licensee may contact a License Officer at NIST to discuss a modification to the license agreement. Any such modification will only be effective when set forth in writing and signed by all parties.