Saturday, December 16, 2017

What is a CRADA? 

A CRADA, or Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, is a valuable legal tool for establishing the roles and responsibilities, as well as the eventual ownership rights to any inventions, between a federal lab and a research/development partner in academia or the private sector.  

Why use a CRADA?

The standard CRADA template has already been vetted and approved to ensure the rights of the U.S. Government are fully protected.  As a result, the CRADA is relatively simple to create and approve.  Once completed, the CRADA enables the partnership to move forward without any confusion over who owns the end product and how it can or cannot be used.  This simple document, when signed at the beginning of a new collaborative project, simplifies dispute resolution in the future and can save the lab and researcher endless hours of reconstructing conversations and compiling documents should a conflict arise between the partners.  

How is a CRADA different than an MOU or a Contract?

The documents are similar; however, the NOAA CRADA has been written with intellectual property rights in mind from the beginning. Therefore, future patenting, licensing, and similar activities can be expedited through the use of a CRADA.  MOUs may not contain details regarding ownership of intellectual property, which can pose difficulties later.

CRADAs are not contracting vehicles.  The CRADA does not allow for the transfer of US Government funds to an outside party.  

I don’t have time to fill out paperwork, is this really necessary?

YES!  The CRADA is SIMPLE and details a basic level or intellectual property rights protections to all parties involved.  This ensures the Federal Government is not paying royalties for any technology it has helped to develop.   Since the CRADA is mostly boilerplate language, all you have to do is attach a complete statement of work, which is something you will likely do anyway at the beginning of a project, and fill in the PI information and you are good to go.  Remember to sign and submit your CRADA to TPO as soon as you begin discussions with any non-federal collaborators.   This one step will save you a lot of time and effort trying to determine who did what and when many years down the line.

Where can I find the instructions for completing a CRADA? 

Instructions for completing the CRADA are in NAO 201-103: Cooperative Research and Development and Invention Licensing Agreements.

Who submits and who approves the CRADA?

Since most of the CRADA language has already been approved. It can be drafted and signed by the Lab/Center Director.   Copies of the CRADA must be sent to TPO for NOAA’s records and annual reporting.  We can also help you with any questions during the preparation of the document.

Do you have samples I can use to structure my CRADA?

The NOAA sample CRADA is available here.