A critical part of the technology transfer process is to disclose a new invention and get a rights determination as soon as you believe you have a viable new technology. The lab director should forward new invention disclosure forms (disclosure and rights questionnaire | instructions) to the Technology Partnership Office to initiate the rights determination.
Whenever an invention is made by a government employee, the rights of the government and the inventor depend upon the circumstances under which the invention was made. There are three possible outcomes:
The government is entitled to all rights and the inventor none, so the inventor must assign patent rights to the government;
The government may be entitled to a license to use or practice the invention, in which case the inventor assigns a license to the government; or
The inventor may be entitled to all rights and the government none.
The rights determination is performed by Department of Commerce legal counsel and should be arranged through the NOAA Technology Partnerships Office.