Leveraging JSC Technologies for Commercial Use
JSC’s world-class researchers continually develop new innovations to benefit the space program. The JSC Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office (TTO) is tasked with helping industry benefit from these inventions by widely disseminating the technologies for scientific, academic, industrial, and commercial use. In order to protect the Government’s interests, the technologies are patented, marketed, and licensed to industry partners for commercial applications.
Many of JSC’s patents and patent applications are available for licensing. You can find these technologies under the Patent Portfolio section of our Web site. The TTO can help you find the right technologies for your business and help you navigate the licensing process.
In addition to patent licensing, some software technologies are distributed under Software Usage Agreements. Please visit NASA's Software Catalog for more details.
How to License a JSC Patent or Patent Application
NASA licenses pending patent applications and existing patents to private industry in compliance with 37 CFR, Section 404 (link opens new browser window) entitled, "Licensing of Government-Owned Inventions.”
Companies interested in licensing one or more of JSC’s innovative technologies are encouraged to contact us at (281) 483-3809 or by e-mail to discuss their licensing needs and objectives.
The license application process takes place in two stages:
During the first stage, you, as the prospective licensee, submit business terms to the JSC Patent License Manager, following the guidelines provided in the license application. You and the license manager then negotiate and agree to the business terms. JSC negotiates each license individually and contains terms such as license duration, up-front fees, ongoing royalties, level of exclusivity, etc.
Licenses may be exclusive, co-exclusive, non-exclusive, or partially exclusive within a particular field of use or geographic area. Requests for exclusive and partially exclusive licenses must go through an additional step prior to granting the license.
After the JSC Patent License Manager reviews Part 1 of the license application and the pro forma, you will be asked to submit Part 2. You will need to provide details on the product development, marketing and commercialization of the patented technology as well as a copy of the company’s financial and/or annual report, a current balance sheet and a current income statement. An exclusive license request must be listed by the Patent License Manager in the Federal Register for 15 days to provide for public review and an opportunity to file objections to the exclusive license request. If no objections or other license applications are received, the Patent License Manager will resume licensing negotiations with you.
After the Patent License Manager finishes the review of Part 2 and the final terms for the royalty fees have been agreed upon, a draft license agreement is written and sent to you for review. The Patent License Manager will provide a final license agreement for your signature and then you will send two signed copies with the negotiated upfront fee for final signature by the NASA/JSC Signing Official. One of the executed license agreements will be returned to you.
The executed license agreement is maintained thereafter by the Center License Administrator to monitor required annual reports, royalty payments, and your company’s progress through the milestones in achieving practical application of the technology by the agreed-to time in the license. All the company’s reports and the original license application is business confidential information and proprietary information, so it is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
The License Administrator shares a predetermined portion of the license royalties with the inventor(s) and uses the remainder of the payments to promote, fund and develop innovations at the Johnson Space Center.
After your company has notified the Center License Administrator that practical application of the patented technology has been achieved, a press release and a “Success Story” are written by the JSC Technology Transfer Office, with your permission and review, to announce your achievement. These “Success Story” articles may be published on the JSC Technology Transfer Web site, in your local newspaper, in the NASA Spinoff magazine→ , or within other publications on different NASA Web sites. Your company may also be eligible for numerous awards, such as the Space Technology Hall of Fame awards and recognition.
For additional licensing assistance, please contact us at (281) 483-3809 or e-mail.