By Jane Benson, NSRDEC Public AffairsAugust 15, 2017
NATICK, Mass. -- Thanks to a new express license portal, access to excellence in innovation is just a click away.
The portal enables users to view technologies patented by the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC, and provides a vehicle to request a commercial license to use intellectual property, or IP. The portal is available at, https://techlinkcenter.org/labs/natick-soldier-research-development-engineering-center/?tech_tag=express-license.
NSRDEC researches and develops cutting-edge technologies for the Warfighter in the areas of food and food packaging, parachutes, textiles and clothing, protective gear and shelters -- to name few areas of expertise. The portal was developed by NSRDEC and TechLink, a Department of Defense-funded technology transfer center at Montana State University.
"The express license portal was developed in concert with TechLink to enhance the visibility of valuable NSRDEC technologies and reduce the barriers to entry for potential commercial licensees," said Sheri Mennillo, NSRDEC's technology transfer manager.
Dan Swanson, certified licensing professional, senior technology manager and licensing lead at TechLink, explained that express licensing will provide "greater transparency and lower barriers for everyone involved."
"We are really launching two things here," said Swanson. "The first is a Natick view or 'store,' which contains all IP, or inventory, in one place. This will be convenient for the entire Natick community -- inventors, attorneys and management, as well as universities and companies interested in working specifically with Natick. The second is 'express licensing.' This feature enables the user to search for and conduct online due diligence on specific IP. Express licensing also offers transparent pricing and enables the user to apply for a license online and track its progress to completion. Together, I think these two features will increase Natick's effectiveness in reaching and doing business with the rest of the world."
The website provides a summary of each available technology and gives standardized, pre-negotiated financial terms for the types of licenses being offered for a particular technology. Types of licenses include exclusive, partially exclusive (limited to a particular field) or non-exclusive. Items that have the "express license" designation are eligible for the faster automated process.
"Potential licensees are encouraged to complete a patent license agreement application through an online portal," said Mennillo. "If the application is approved by NSRDEC's Office of Research and Technology Applications, the information submitted as part of the application and the applicable financial terms will be automatically populated into a standardized patent license agreement containing pre-negotiated business and legal terms."
Mennillo explained that the website includes other NSRDEC patents that are not currently available for express licensing. Interested parties can access these patents by clicking on the "patents" tab in the black bar towards the top of the webpage.
Revenue earned from licensing NSRDEC inventions will go back into NSRDEC research.
"Revenue distributions received at the directorate level may be used to fill a funding gap in mission-related scientific research and development," said Mennillo.
NSRDEC's inventions not only benefit the Warfighter but also first responders and the general public.
"Many of our technologies are dual-use," said Mennillo. "While the impetus for the invention is military need, the invention may also have commercial applications that may benefit emergency responders, humanitarian aid organizations and the public at large. One example is the Insulated Container for Cold Beverages, or ICB. It was developed to replace the use of commercially available coolers in vehicles, which can become projectile hazards. The ICB can not only maintain the cool temperature of beverages for an extended period of time but is a ruggedized alternative that may be attractive to fishermen, hunters and other sporting enthusiasts."
The list of inventions available for express licensing is continuously growing. A few of the current available inventions include the Linear Rope Brake System for Aerial Delivery, Blast Debris Protective Harness, Portable Chemical Sterilizer, Chlorine Dioxide for Surface Decontamination and the Body Heating and Cooling Garment.
The express licensing portal will mean even more people and organizations will benefit from NSRDEC's innovations.
"In addition to our primary mission in support of America's Warfighters, we have an obligation to maximize the public's opportunities to benefit from federally funded R&D," said Jeff DiTullio, Business and Outreach team lead at NSRDEC. "The streamlined structure of the express licensing process is intended for positive impact on both fronts."
"We hope that this feature will attract new organizations and entrepreneurs that see the value in bringing these dual-use inventions to the public," said Mennillo. "To many of these parties, navigating a government licensing process may seem like a daunting prospect. Our goal is to eliminate uncertainty as a barrier to entry, through transparency as to the financial and business terms of the proposed license."
The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities for decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the Joint Warfighter and the Nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.