Saturday, December 16, 2017

Since 1980, Congress has enacted a series of laws to promote technology transfer and to provide technology transfer incentives.  Highlights of these laws and their implications follow:

  • Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-480):  the first in a series of laws to define and promote technology transfer.  The Act was focused on the transfer of information from the federal government and involving federal laboratories more in the process.  The law also established the Office of Research and Technology Operations (ORTA) to coordinate and promote technology transfer within the lab.  The Technology Partnerships Office is NOAA's ORTA.

  • Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-517):  this Act established boundaries for patents and licenses for federally-funded R&D.  Small business, universities, and non-profit companies were allowed to obtain title to inventions developed with federal funds.  

  • Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-219):  this Act established the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.

  • Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-502):  Act requires that all federal lab scientists and engineers are required to consider technology transfer an individual responsibility, and technology transfer activities are to be considered in employee performance evaluations.  The Act also chartered and funded the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) and allowed federally owned and operated labs to enter into Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs).  The Act also allows federally owned and operated labs to waive the rights to lab inventions and intellectual property. 

  • Small Business Research and Development Enhancement Act of 1992 (P.L. 102-564):  The Act established the Small Busines Technology Transfer Program (STTR).  NOAA was not part of this initial implementation of the STTR.

  • National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (P.L. 104-113):  The Act amended Stevenson-Wydler to make CRADAs more attractive, assuring U.S. they would receive sufficient rights to enable rapid commercialization of inventions arising through a CRADA.  

  • Technology Transfer Commercialization Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-404):  The Act requires licensees to provide a plan for the development and/or marketing of the invention and to make a commitment to achieve a practical application of the invention within a reasonable period of time. 

  • Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011:   This Act represents the first major overhaul to the U.S. Patent system in over 50 years.  Major implications for U.S. inventors include the change from a first-to-invent system to a first-inventor-to-file system.