Part Number: 927

Department of Energy Acquisition Regulation

927.404 Rights in technical data in subcontracts. (DOE coverage - paragraphs (g), (k), (l), and (m))

(g)(4) Contractors are required by paragraph (d)(3) of the clause at FAR 52.227-14, as modified pursuant to 48 CFR 927.409(a)(1), to acquire permission from DOE to assert copyright in any computer software first produced in the performance of the contract. This requirement reflects DOE's established software distribution program, recognized at FAR 27.404(g)(2), and the Department's statutory dissemination obligations. When a contractor requests permission to assert copyright in accordance with paragraph (d)(3) of the Rights in Data - General clause as prescribed for use at 48 CFR 927.409(a)(1), Patent Counsel shall predicate its decision on the considerations reflected in paragraph (e) of the clause at 48 CFR 970.5227-2 Rights in Data - Technology Transfer.

(k) Subcontracts. (1)(i) It is the responsibility of prime contractors and higher tier subcontractors, in meeting their obligations with respect to contract data, to obtain from their subcontractor the rights in, access to, and delivery of such data on behalf of the Government. Accordingly, subject to the policy set forth in this subpart, and subject to the approval of the contracting officer, where required, selection of appropriate technical data provisions for subcontracts is the responsibility of the prime contractors or higher-tier subcontractors. In many, but not all instances, use of the Rights in Technical Data clause of FAR 52.227-14, as modified pursuant to 48 CFR 927.409(a)(1), in a subcontract will provide for sufficient Government rights in and access to technical data. The inspection rights afforded in Alternate V of that clause normally should be obtained only in first-tier subcontracts having as a purpose the conduct of research, development, or demonstration work or the furnishing of supplies for which there are substantial technical data requirements as reflected in the prime contract.

(ii) If a subcontractor refuses to accept technical data provisions affording rights in and access to technical data on behalf of the Government, the contractor shall so inform the contracting officer in writing and not proceed with the award of the subcontract without written authorization of the contracting officer.

(iii) In prime contracts (or higher-tier subcontracts) which contain the Additional Technical Data Requirements clause at FAR 52.227-16, it is the further responsibility of the contractor (or higher-tier subcontractor) to determine whether inclusion of such clause in a subcontract is required to satisfy technical data requirements of the prime contract (or higher-tier subcontract).

(2) As is the case for DOE in its determination of technical data requirements, the Additional Technical Data Requirements clause at FAR 52.227-16 should not be used at any subcontracting tier where the technical data requirements are fully known. Normally, the clause will be used only in subcontracts having as a purpose the conduct of research, development, or demonstration work. Prime contractors and higher-tier subcontractors shall not use their power to award subcontracts as economic leverage to acquire rights in the subcontractor's limited rights data or restricted computer software for their private use, and they shall not acquire rights to limited rights data or restricted computer software on behalf of the Government for standard commercial items without the prior approval of Patent Counsel.

(l) Contractor licensing. In many contracting situations the achievement of DOE's objectives would be frustrated if the Government, at the time of contracting, did not obtain on behalf of responsible third parties and itself limited license rights in and to limited rights data or restricted computer software or both necessary for the practice of subject inventions or data first produced or delivered in the performance of the contract. Where the purpose of the contract is research, development, or demonstration, contracting officers should consult with program officials and Patent Counsel to consider whether such rights should be acquired. No such rights should be obtained from a small business or non-profit organization, unless similar rights in background inventions of the small business or non-profit organization have been authorized in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 202(f). In all cases when the contractor has agreed to include a provision assuring commercial availability of background patents, consideration should be given to securing for the Government and responsible third parties at reasonable royalties and under appropriate restrictions, co-extensive license rights for data which are limited rights data and restricted computer software. When such license rights are deemed necessary, the Rights in Data-General clause at FAR 52.227-14 should be supplemented by the addition of Alternate VI as provided at 48 CFR 952.227-14. Alternate VI will normally be sufficient to cover limited rights data and restricted computer software for items and processes that were used in the contract and are necessary in order to insure widespread commercial use or practical utilization of a subject of the contract. The expression “subject of the contract” is intended to limit the licensing required in Alternate VI to the fields of technology specifically contemplated in the contract effort and may be replaced by a more specific statement of the fields of technology intended to be covered in the manner described in the patent clause at 48 CFR 952.227-13 pertaining to “Background Patents.” Where, however, limited rights data and restricted computer software cover the main purpose or basic technology of the research, development, or demonstration effort of the contract, rather than subcomponents, products, or processes which are ancillary to the contract effort, the limitations set forth in subparagraphs (k)

(1) through (k)(4) of Alternate VI of 48 CFR 952.227-14 should be modified or deleted. Paragraph (k) of 48 CFR 952.227-14 further provides that limited rights data or restricted computer software may be specified in the contract as being excluded from or not subject to the licensing requirements thereof. This exclusion can be implemented by limiting the applicability of the provisions of paragraph (k) of 48 CFR 952.227-14 to only those classes or categories of limited rights data and restricted computer software determined as being essential for licensing. Although contractor licensing may be required under paragraph (k) of 48 CFR 952.227-14, the final resolution of questions regarding the scope of such licenses and the terms thereof, including provisions for confidentiality, and reasonable royalties, is then left to the negotiation of the parties.

(m) Access to restricted data. In contracts involving access to certain categories of DOE-owned Category C-24 restricted data, as set forth in 10 CFR part 725, DOE has reserved the right to receive reasonable compensation for the use of its inventions and discoveries, including its related data and technology. Accordingly, in contracts where access to such restricted data is to be provided to contractors, Alternate VII shall be incorporated into the rights in technical data clause of the contract. In addition, in any other types of contracting situations in which the contractor may be given access to restricted data, appropriate limitations on the use of such data must be specified.