Summary: H.R.209 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed Senate amended (10/05/2000)

Technology Transfer Commercialization Act of 1999 - Amends the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (Stevenson-Wydler Act) to revise requirements regarding enumerated authority under a cooperative research and development (R&D) agreement to permit Government laboratories to grant licenses to federally owned inventions for which a patent application was filed before the signing of the agreement, and directly within the scope of work under such agreement.

(Sec. 4) Rewrites Federal restrictions on the licensing of federally owned inventions. Requires a license applicant to make a commitment to achieve practical application of the invention within a reasonable time. Requires such a license to include provisions: (1) retaining a nontransferable, irrevocable, paid-up license for the Federal agency to practice the invention or have the invention practiced throughout the world by or on behalf of the U.S. Government; (2) requiring periodic reporting on use of the invention by the licensee only to the extent necessary to enable the Federal agency to determine whether the licensee is complying with license terms; and (3) empowering the Federal agency to terminate the license if the licensee has been found by a competent authority to have violated the Federal antitrust laws in connection with its performance under the license agreement. Prohibits an agency from granting an exclusive or partially exclusive license on a federally-owned invention unless it has provided 15 days' public notice and considered all comments received (exempts from such requirement the licensing of any inventions made under a cooperative research and development (R&D) agreement).

(Sec. 5) Revises the policy and objective of Congress regarding use of the patent system to ensure that nonprofit organization and small business inventions are used to promote free competition and enterprise (current law) without unduly encumbering future research and discovery.

(Sec. 6) Makes certain technical amendments to: (1) the Bayh-Dole Act with regard to Government acquisition of the rights of a private party to a federally owned invention; and (2) the Stevenson-Wydler Act relating to, among other things, the distribution of royalties received by Federal agencies.

(Sec. 8) Requires each Federal agency with a federally funded laboratory that has one or more cooperative R&D agreements under the Stevenson-Wydler Act to report to the Committee on National Security of the National Science and Technology Council (Committee) and Congress on the general policies and procedures that agency uses to gather and consider the views of other agencies on joint work statements, or cooperative R&D agreements in the case of certain laboratories, with respect to major proposed cooperative R&D agreements that involve critical national security technology or may have a significant impact on domestic or international competitiveness.

Directs the Committee to: (1) determine the adequacy of existing procedures and methods for interagency coordination and awareness with respect to cooperative R&D agreements; and (2) establish and distribute to appropriate Federal agencies specific criteria to indicate the necessity for gathering and considering agency views on such statements or agreements, as well as additional procedures, if any, for carrying out such gathering and considering.

(Sec. 9) Amends the Stevenson-Wydler Act to authorize Federal laboratories to enter into contracts with partnership intermediaries to perform services that increase the likelihood of success in the conduct of cooperative or joint activities with institutions of higher education.

(Sec. 10) Revises agency reporting requirements relating to technology transfer programs to require each agency which operates a Federal laboratory or which conducts activities relating to the licensing or protection of federally owned inventions to report annually to the Office of Management and Budget, as part of the agency's annual budget submission, and to the Secretary of Commerce and the Attorney General on the agency's technology transfer activities, including information on patents received, licenses executed and terminated, and royalties earned. Changes the Secretary's biennial report on technology innovation authorities to an annual report on technology transfer authorities to the United States Trade Representative and the public (as well as the President and Congress). Revises agency royalty reporting requirements to direct the Comptroller General to report to the appropriate congressional committees (every five years) on the effectiveness of Federal technology transfer programs.

(Sec. 11) Directs the Secretary of Energy to require the director of each national laboratory of the Department of Energy, and authorizes the Secretary to require the director of each facility under the Energy Department's jurisdiction, to appoint a technology partnership ombudsman to hear and help resolve complaints from outside organizations regarding the policies and actions of each such laboratory or facility with respect to technology partnerships (including cooperative R&D agreements), patents, and technology licensing. Requires each ombudsman appointed to: (1) serve as the focal point for assisting the public and industry in resolving complaints and disputes with the national laboratory or facility regarding technology partnerships, patents, and technology licensing; (2) promote the use of collaborative alternative dispute resolution techniques such as mediation to facilitate the speedy and low-cost resolution of complaints and disputes, when appropriate; and (3) report quarterly on the number and nature of complaints and disputes raised, along with the ombudsman's assessment of their resolution, consistent with the protection of confidential and sensitive information, to the Secretary, the Administrator for Nuclear Security, the Director of the Office of Dispute Resolution of the Department, and Department employees responsible for the administration of the contract for the operation of each national laboratory or facility that is a subject of the report, for consideration in the administration and review of that contract.