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NASA Offers Licenses of Patented Technologies to Start-Up Companies


NASA is unveiling a new opportunity for start-up companies to license patented NASA technology with no up-front payment. The Startup NASA initiative addresses two common problems start-ups face: raising capital and securing intellectual property rights.

Aimed at encouraging the growth of high-tech businesses and advancing American innovation, NASA’s Technology Transfer Program within the Office of the Chief Technologist designed this initiative to allow start-up companies to choose from a diverse portfolio of more than 1,200 patented NASA technologies that range from materials and coatings to sensors, aeronautics technologies, instrumentation and more.

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Credit: NASA

“The Startup NASA initiative leverages the results of our cutting-edge research and development so entrepreneurs can take that research — and some risks — to create new products and new services,” said David Miller, NASA’s chief technologist.

Finding the technologies available for license is simply a click away. NASA has created a streamlined, online patent portfolio covering 15 categories and packed with patents protected by the U.S. government. Once a desired technology is identified, an online application can be filled out and submitted through the website.

Although the license itself is free, the start-up companies must adhere to the following guidelines:

This offer is open only to companies formed with the express intent of commercializing the licensed NASA technology.
“No up-front payment” means NASA waives the initial licensing fees, and there are no minimum fees for the first three years.
Once the company starts selling a product, NASA will collect a standard net royalty fee. This money goes first to the inventor and then to maintaining the agency’s technology transfer activities and technology advancement.
This announcement applies only to non-exclusive licenses, which means other companies may apply for similar rights to use the technology for commercial purposes. However, NASA will consider further exclusivity if the start-up wishes to negotiate.
Companies entering into these licenses are bound by all requirements in federal licensing statutes and NASA policies, including development of a commercialization plan and reporting on efforts to achieve practical application.

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