US Department of Energy challenge offers energy entrepreneurs $1,000 licenses to national laboratory technology

This week U.S Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced a new program that is intended to encourage entrepreneurship and new energy technologies.  The Department of Energy owns 17 national laboratories around the country.  Each national laboratory performs research in a broad spectrum of energy-related fields. 

Under the new program, energy entrepreneurs who want access to a DOE national laboratory technology can license up to three national lab patents for $1,000 each.  National laboratory patents are currently available for review in a database that is available on the DOE Technology Transfer Website.   Terms of the license have not yet been released, but the DOE plans to release a streamlined license agreement for all applicants to accept. 

To request a license, applicants must submit a business plan and identify the technology of interest.  The DOE will publish a license application form on its website, and will accept applications May 2 – December 15, 2011.

Update:  Since this post was originally published, the DOE issued a press release clarifying that the $1,000 only covers the up-front fee.  The licensee will still be required to pay royalties based on actual sales.  Royalty amounts and other commercial terms will be determined on a case-by-case basis, although the DOE’s standard license agreement form will simplify the process.  The $1,000 fee represents a discount of $10,000 – $50,000 from the DOE’s typical up-front demand.

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