(a) Except for contracts with organizations that are beneficiaries of Public Law 96-517, the United States, as represented by DOE, shall normally acquire title in and to any invention or discovery conceived or first actually reduced to practice in the course of or under the contract, allowing the contractor to retain a nonexclusive, revocable, paid-up license in the invention and the right to request permission to file an application for a patent and retain title to any ensuing patent in any foreign country in which DOE does not elect to secure patent rights. DOE may approve the request if it determines that such approval would be in the national interest. The contractor's nonexclusive license may be revoked or modified by DOE only to the extent necessary to achieve expeditious practical application of the invention pursuant to any application for and the grant of an exclusive license in the invention to another party.
(b) In contracts having as a purpose the conduct of research, development, or demonstration work and in certain other contracts, DOE may need to require those contractors that are not the beneficiaries of Public Law 96-517 to license background patents to ensure reasonable public availability and accessibility necessary to practice the subject of the contract in the fields of technology specifically contemplated in the contract effort. That need may arise where the contractor is not attempting to take the technology resulting from the contract to the commercial marketplace, or is not meeting market demands. The need for background patent rights and the particular rights that should be obtained for either the Government or the public will depend upon the type, purpose, and scope of the contract effort, impact on the DOE program, and the cost to the Government of obtaining such rights.
(c) Provisions to deal specifically with DOE background patent rights are contained in paragraph (k) of the clause at 952.227-13. That paragraph may be modified with the concurrence of Patent Counsel in order to reflect the equities of the parties in particular contracting situations. Paragraph (k) should normally be deleted for contracts with an estimated cost and fee or price of $250,000 or less and may not be appropriate for certain types of study contracts; for planning contracts; for contracts with educational institutions; for contracts for specialized equipment for in-house Government use, not involving use by the public; and for contracts the work products of which will not be the subject of future procurements by the Government or its contractors.
(d) The Assistant General Counsel for Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property shall:
(1) Make the determination that whether reported inventions are subject inventions under the patent rights clause of the contract;
(2) Determine whether and where patent protection will be obtained on inventions;
(3) Represent DOE before domestic and foreign patent offices;
(4) Accept assignments and instruments confirmatory of the Government's rights to inventions; and
(5) Represent DOE in patent, technical data, and copyright matters not specifically reserved to the Head of the Agency or designee.