Technology: Energy Department Offers Deep Discounts On Its Patents | May 9, 2011 Issue - Vol. 89 Issue 19 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 89 Issue 19 | p. 13 | News of The Week
Issue Date: May 9, 2011

Technology: Energy Department Offers Deep Discounts On Its Patents

Department: Government & Policy
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: DOE, Patents

For a bargain price of $1,000, start-up companies can get up to three of the thousands of unlicensed patents in the Department of Energy’s portfolio. The offer is part of the department’s America’s Next Top Energy Innovator challenge and is available until Dec. 15.

The challenge kicked off last week and aims to double the number of start-up companies emerging from DOE’s 17 national laboratories, which hold more than 15,000 patents. Only 10% of federal patents are currently licensed to be commercialized, according to the agency.

“Our goal is simple: unleash America’s innovation machine and win the global race for the clean energy jobs of the future,” said DOE Secretary Steven Chu in a statement.

By simply submitting a business plan and signing a generic agreement, available as a template on the DOE website, interested start-ups can apply to license up to three patents from a single laboratory at the reduced $1,000 fee. Applying for a patent license usually costs $10,000 to $50,000 and involves months of paperwork. As part of the challenge, DOE will also make it easy for companies to conduct their commercialization R&D at the national laboratories.

Patents that are up for grabs include a system from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to convert solar energy to chemical and thermal energy for transportation purposes; semiconductor materials from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory that have potential applications in solar cells, solid-state lighting, and high-speed transistors; and a catalyst from Argonne National Laboratory that removes up to 85% of NOx emissions from diesel fuel combustion.

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