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NASA Seeks Ideas For Commission Based IP Sharing

The space agency wants U.S. companies to help it broker deals to share patented technology with the marketplace with IP-transfer partners earning a certain percentage of revenue.




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NASA is seeking ideas for new commissioned-based ways to transfer technology it has developed into the U.S. marketplace so more companies can take advantage of it. The space agency wants U.S. companies to provide intellectual property (IP)-management services based on a revenue-sharing relationship that is established if they broker successful license deals, according to a request for information (RFI) NASA has posted on FedBizOpps.gov.

"NASA seeks the widest dissemination possible of its intellectual property for commercial application and the other public benefit to the nation," according to the RFI. The agency is open to a variety of ideas for transferring its technology, including public auctions, Internet-based agreements or other "innovative concepts," it said.

The idea behind a no-cost relationship is so that small companies or other entities that may not be able to afford the traditional patent licensing NASA already does can take advantage of its technology as well, it said in a press statement.

"Seeking no-cost methods to further advance the transfer of NASA-owned patented inventions will introduce efficiencies and provide increased value to the public and NASA through the introduction of new and effective licensing processes and tools," according to the RFI.

NASA plans to pay IP-transfer partners a certain percentage of revenue depending on the relationship and the deal they broker, the agency said. It has used this kind of commission-based model in the past to share IP, according to the RFI. In fact, two NASA centers are currently engaged in a pilot project to transfer patented technologies through live auctions.

The first auction was conducted in October 2008, according to the RFI. A portfolio of NASA-owned patents provided by the Goddard Space Flight Center was successfully auctioned off via an exclusive license with pre-defined terms that the winning bidder assumed.

Additional live auctions were held under the same pilot program for a patent portfolio from the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. In both cases, there was no sale or purchase of IP; all licensing revenue was commission-based, according to NASA.

Companies have until Oct. 21 to submit ideas to the RFI.

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