Federal Contractor IP Protection
Strategizing and protecting your IP rights is crucial to companies, especially within industries that are highly technical. The government understands this, especially for small business, and has designed regulations to help the company do this when research and/or development is funded by either a government grant or contract.
Government awards have the advantage of providing a company with access to federal funding for (a) research and development work relating to new technology, and (b) further work leading to the commercialization of that new technology for use by the government or the private sector. Government awardees can retain a significant portion of their IP rights during this process, but only by adhering to various statutes and regulations. In addition to protecting their own IP rights, awardees must be prepared to defend themselves against infringement claims that may be brought by other companies as a result of work performed under government awards.
The disposition of patent rights in inventions made with federal funding for small businesses and nonprofit organizations is governed by Chapter 18 of Title 35 (35 U.S.C. §§ 200-212). The general policy of the United States, which is reflected in these laws, is to allow contractors to retain ownership rights in IP that is developed with federal funding as long as the government obtains a nonexclusive, paid-up license to use such IP. This policy is based on the rationale that a contractor is better positioned to commercialize a new technology than the federal government.These regulations make it clear that without a specific strategy, a Federal Contractor can easily either “forget” to do something or just plain not know their IP rights and subsequently loose them. By hiring a professional, experienced consultant, the company can not only develop a strategy but the consultant can help the company implement the strategy. This will become extremely important in a commercialization effort and/or exit strategy for the owners of the business. To learn more about our IP Protection Consulting services, call ReliAscent today!