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Part Number: 1827

NASA Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement

Subpart 1827.3 - Patent Rights Under Government Contracts

1827.301 Definitions.

As used in this subpart -

Administrator means the Administrator of NASA or a duly authorized representative.

Reportable item means any invention, discovery, improvement, or innovation of the contractor, whether or not patentable or otherwise protectable under Title 35 of the United States Code, made in the performance of any work under any NASA contract or in the performance of any work that is reimbursable under any clause in any NASA contract providing for reimbursement of costs incurred before the effective date of the contract. Reportable items include, but are not limited to, new processes, machines, manufactures, and compositions of matter, and improvements to, or new applications of, existing processes, machines, manufactures, and compositions of matter. Reportable items also include new computer programs, and improvements to, or new applications of, existing computer programs, whether or not copyrightable or otherwise protectable under Title 17 of the United States Code.

Subject invention, in lieu of the definition in FAR 27.301, means any reportable item that is or may be patentable or otherwise protectable under Title 35 of the United States Code, or any novel variety of plant that is or may be protectable under the Plant Variety Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 2321, et seq.).

1827.302 Policy.

(a) Introduction. NASA policy with respect to any invention, discovery, improvement, or innovation made in the performance of work under any NASA contract or subcontract with other than a small business firm or a nonprofit organization and the allocation of related property rights is based upon Section 20135 of the National Aeronautics and Space Act (51 U.S.C. 20135) (the Act); and, to the extent consistent with this statute, the Presidential Memorandum on Government Patent Policy to the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, dated February 18, 1983, and Section 1(b)(4) of Executive Order 12591. NASA contractors subject to Section 20135 of the Act shall ensure the prompt reporting of reportable items in order to protect the Government's interest and to provide the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination, early utilization, expeditious development, and continued availability for the benefit of the scientific, industrial, and commercial communities and the general public.

(b) Contractor right to elect title.

(1) For NASA contracts, the contractor right to elect title under the FAR only applies to contracts with small businesses and nonprofit organizations. For other business entities, see paragraph (b)(2)(v) of this section;

(2)(v) Under any NASA contract with other than a small business or nonprofit organization (i.e., contracts subject to section 20135(b) of the Act), title to subject inventions vests in NASA when the determinations of section 20135(b)(1)(A) or (b)(1)(B) have been made. The Administrator may grant the contractor a waiver of title in accordance with 14 CFR part 1245.

(3) Contractor petitions for waiver of title. The Administrator may waive all or any part of the rights of the United States with respect to any invention or class of inventions made or which may be made in the performance of NASA contracts with other than a small business firm or a nonprofit organization if the Administrator determines that the interests of the United States will be served. The procedures and instructions for contractors to submit petitions for waiver of rights in subject inventions are provided in the NASA Patent Waiver Regulations, 14 CFR part 1245, subpart 1, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2012-title14-vol5/pdf/CFR-2012-title14-vol5-part1245.pdf. Waiver may be requested in advance of contract award for any subject invention or class of subject inventions or during contract performance for individually identified subject inventions reported under the contract. For individual identified subject inventions, the petition shall identify each invention with particularity (e.g., by NASA's assigned number to the Disclosure of Invention and New Technology report or by title and inventorship). For advance waivers, the petition shall identify the invention or class of inventions that the Contractor believes will be made under the contract and for which waiver is being requested. To meet the statutory standard of “any invention or class of inventions,” the petition must be directed to a single invention or to inventions directed to a particular process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or to a narrowly-drawn, focused area of technology. When a waiver of title is granted, the contractor's right to title, the rights reserved by the Government, and other conditions and obligations of the waiver, such as requirements for reporting and filing patent applications on waived inventions, are provided in the NASA Patent Waiver Regulations, 14 CFR part 1245, subpart 1, and the Instrument of Waiver executed under those Regulations.

(c) Government license. For each subject invention made in the performance of work under a NASA contract with other than a small business firm or nonprofit organization and for which waiver of title has been granted, the Administrator shall reserve an irrevocable, nonexclusive, nontransferable, royalty-free license for the practice of such invention throughout the world by or on behalf of the United States or any foreign Government in accordance with any treaty or agreement of the United States.

(e) Utilization reports. For each subject invention made in the performance of work under a NASA contract with other than a small business firm or a nonprofit organization and for which waiver of title has been granted, the requirements for utilization reports shall be as set forth in the NASA Patent Waiver Regulations, 14 CFR part 1245, subpart 1, and the Instrument of Waiver executed under those Regulations.

(f) March-in rights. For each subject invention made in the performance of work under a NASA contract with other than a small business firm or a nonprofit organization and for which waiver of title has been granted, march-in rights shall be as set forth in the NASA Patent Waiver Regulations, 14 CFR part 1245, subpart 1, and the Instrument of Waiver executed under those Regulations.

(g) Preference for United States industry. For each subject invention made in the performance of work under a NASA contract with other than a small business firm or a nonprofit organization and for which waiver of title has been granted, waiver of the requirement for substantial manufacture in the United States shall be in accordance with Title 35 of the United States Code, section 204.

(i) Minimum rights to contractor. (1) For NASA contracts with other than a small business firm or a nonprofit organization, where title to any subject inventions vests in NASA, the contractor is normally granted, in accordance with the NASA Patent Waiver Regulations, 14 CFR 1245.108, a revocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free license in each patent application filed in any country and in any resulting patent. The license extends to any of the contractor's domestic subsidiaries and affiliates within the corporate structure, and includes the right to grant sublicenses of the same scope to the extent the contractor was legally obligated to do so at the time the contract was awarded. The license and right are transferable only with the approval of the Administrator, except when transferred to the successor of that part of the contractor's business to which the invention pertains.

(2) The procedures for revoking or modifying the license to a contractor that is other than a small business firm or a nonprofit organization are described in 14 CFR 1245.108.

(k) Awards. It is the policy of NASA to consider for a monetary award, when referred to the NASA Inventions and Contributions Board in accordance with 14 CFR part 1240, subpart 1, any subject invention reported to NASA in accordance with this subpart, and for which an application for patent has been filed.

1827.303 Solicitation provisions and contract clauses.

(a)

(1) The contracting officer shall insert the provision at 1852.227-84, Patent Rights Clauses, in solicitations for experimental, developmental, or research work to be performed in the United States when the eventual awardee may be a small business or a nonprofit organization.

(b)

(1) When the clause at FAR 52.227-11 is included in a solicitation or contract, it shall be modified as set forth at 1852.227-11.

(i) To qualify for the clause at FAR 52.227-11, a prospective contractor shall be required to represent itself as either a small business firm or a nonprofit organization. If the contracting officer has reason to question the size or nonprofit status of the prospective contractor, the contracting officer will follow the procedures at FAR 27.304-1(a).

(iii) The contracting officer shall complete paragraph (j) of the clause at FAR 52.227-11 with the following: Communications and information submissions required by this clause will be made to the individuals identified in the clause at 1852.227-72, Designation of New Technology Representative and Patent Representative.

(iv) See also paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

(6) Alternate IV to 52.227-11 is not used in NASA contracts. See instead 1827.303(b)(1).

(7) The contracting officer shall consult with the center patent or intellectual property counsel regarding the use of Alternate V in contracts for the performance of services at a NASA installation when a contractor is directed to fulfill the Government's obligations under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) authorized by 15 U.S.C. 3710a. Alternate V may be included in, or added to, the contract when it is contemplated that a Contractor will be directed to fulfill NASA's obligations under a CRADA, but should be added prior to the contractor performing work under the CRADA.

(d)

(1) The contracting officer shall insert the clause at 1852.227-70, New Technology - Other than a Small Business Firm or Nonprofit Organization, in all NASA solicitations and contracts with other than a small business firm or a nonprofit organization (i.e., those subject to section 21035(b) of the Act), if the contract is to be performed in the United States, and has as a purpose the performance of experimental, developmental, research, design, or engineering work. Contracts for any of the following purposes may be considered to involve the performance of work of the type described above (these examples are illustrative and not all inclusive):

(i) Conduct of basic or applied research.

(ii) Development, design, or manufacture for the first time of any machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter to satisfy NASA's specifications or special requirements.

(iii) Development of any process or technique for attaining a NASA objective not readily attainable through the practice of a previously developed process or technique.

(iv) Testing of, evaluation of, or experimentation with a machine, process, concept, or technique to determine whether it is suitable or could be made suitable for a NASA objective.

(v) Construction work or architect-engineer services having as a purpose the performance of experimental, developmental, or research work or test and evaluation studies involving such work.

(vi) The operation of facilities or the coordination and direction of the work of others, if these activities involve performing work of any of the types described in paragraphs (i) through (v) of this section.

(2) The contracting officer shall insert the provision at 1852.227-71, Requests for Waiver of Rights to Inventions, in all solicitations that include the clause at 1852.227-70, New Technology - Other than a Small Business Firm or Nonprofit Organization (see paragraph (d)(1) of this section).

(3) The contracting officer shall insert the clause at 1852.227-72, Designation of New Technology Representative and Patent Representative, in all solicitations and contracts containing either of the clauses at FAR 52.227-11, Patent Rights - Ownership by the Contractor, or 1852.227-70, New Technology - Other than a Small Business Firm or Nonprofit Organization (see paragraph (d)(1) of this section). It may also be inserted, upon consultation with the center patent or intellectual property counsel, in solicitations and contracts using another patent rights clause. The center New Technology and Patent Representatives are identified at http://prod.nais.nasa.gov/portals/pl/new_tech_pocs.html.

(e)

(1) When work is to be performed outside the United States by contractors that are not domestic firms, the clause at 1852.227-85, Invention Reporting and Rights - Foreign, shall be used unless the contracting officer determines, with concurrence of the center patent or intellectual property counsel, that the objectives of the contract would be better served by use of the clause at FAR 52.227-13, Patent Rights - Ownership by the Government. For this purpose, the contracting officer may presume that a contractor is not a domestic firm unless it is known that the firm is not foreign owned, controlled, or influenced. (See FAR 27.304-3 regarding subcontracts with U.S. firms.)

(2) When one of the conditions in FAR 27.303(e)(1)

(i) through (iv) is met, the contracting officer shall consult with the center patent or intellectual property counsel to determine the appropriate clause.

1827.304 Procedures.

1827.304-1 General.

(b)

(1) Exceptions. In any contract with other than a small business firm or nonprofit organization, the NASA Patent Waiver Regulations, 14 CFR part 1245, subpart 1, shall apply.

(c) Greater rights determinations. In any contract with other than a small business firm or a nonprofit organization and with respect to which advance waiver of rights has not been granted (see 1827.302(b)(3)), the contractor (or an employee-inventor of the contractor after consultation with the contractor) may request waiver of title to an individual identified subject invention pursuant to the NASA Patent Waiver Regulations, 14 CFR part 1245, subpart 1.

(d) Retention of rights by inventor. The NASA Patent Waiver Regulations, 14 CFR part 1245, subpart 1, apply for any invention made in the performance of work under any contract with other than a small business firm or a nonprofit organization.

(f) Revocation or modification of contractor's minimum rights. For contracts with other than a small business firm or a nonprofit organization, revocation or modification of the contractor's license rights in subject inventions made and reported under the contract shall be in accordance with 14 CFR 1245.108 (see 1827.302(i)(2)).

(g) Exercise of march-in rights. For contracts with other than a small business firm or a nonprofit organization, the procedures for the exercise of march-in rights shall be as set forth in the NASA Patent Waiver Regulations, 14 CFR part 1245, subpart 1.

(h) Licenses and assignments under contracts with nonprofit organizations. The Headquarters Agency Counsel for Intellectual Property (ACIP) is the approval authority for assignments. Contractor requests should be made to the Patent Representative designated in the clause at 1852.227-72 and forwarded, with recommendation of the Patent Representative, to the ACIP for approval.

1827.304-2 Contracts placed by or for other Government agencies.

(a)(3)(i) This subsection applies only to contracts placed by or for other agencies and not to task or delivery orders placed by or for other agencies against NASA Government-wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) or Multiple Agency Contracts (MACs).

(ii) When a contract is placed for another agency with a small business or nonprofit organization and the agency does not request the use of a specific patent rights clause, the contracting officer shall use the clause at FAR 52.227-11, Patent Rights - Ownership by the Contractor as modified by 1852.227-11 (see 1827.303(b)(1)).

(iii) When a contract is placed for another agency with other than a small business or nonprofit organization, the contracting officer, in accordance with Section 20135 of the Act, shall use the clause at 1852.227-70, New Technology - Other than a Small Business Firm or Nonprofit Organization (see 1827.303(d)(1).

(iv) When work is to be performed outside the United States by contractors that are not domestic firms, the contracting officer shall use one of the clause described in 1827.303(e)(1).

1827.304-3 Subcontracts.

(a) Unless otherwise authorized or directed by the contracting officer, contractors awarding subcontracts at any tier shall select and include in the subcontracts one of the clauses identified in subparagraphs (a)

(1) or (2) of this section. At all tiers, the applicable clause identified below shall be modified to identify the parties as follows: references to the Government are not changed, and in all references to the Contractor the subcontractor is substituted for the Contractor so that the subcontractor has all rights and obligations of the Contractor in the clause.

(1) The clause at 1852.227-70, New Technology - Other than a Small Business Firm or Nonprofit Organization, shall be used in any subcontract with other than a small business firm or a nonprofit organization if a purpose of the subcontract is the performance of experimental, developmental, research, design, or engineering work of any of the types described in 1827.303(d)(1).

(2) The clause at FAR 52.227-11, Patent Rights - Ownership by the Contractor, modified by 1852.227-11 (see 1827.303(b)(1)), shall be used in any subcontract with a small business firm or a nonprofit organization if a purpose of the subcontract is the performance of experimental, developmental, or research work.

1827.304-4 Appeals.

FAR 27.304-4 shall apply unless otherwise provided in the NASA Patent Waiver Regulations, 14 CFR part 1245, subpart 1.

1827.305 Administration of the patent rights clauses.

1827.305-3 Securing invention rights acquired by the Government.

When the Government acquires the entire right to, title to, and interest in an invention under the clause at 1852.227-70, New Technology - Other than a Small Business Firm or Nonprofit Organization, a determination of title is to be made in accordance with section 20135(b) of the Act (51 U.S.C. 20135(b)), and reflected in appropriate instruments executed by NASA Administrator and forwarded to the contractor by the contracting officer.