Technology Licensing and Partnering
An important priority for NASA Armstrong’s Technology Transfer Office is to help move technologies originally developed for use within NASA into the commercial sector to benefit society. Therefore, many of NASA Armstrong’s patents are available for licensing. In addition, NASA Armstrong can enter into partnership agreements with outside parties that seek to license our patents (see the “How to Partner” section below).
The Technology Transfer Office is here to help you navigate the licensing process and assist in assembling the necessary documents. Below is more detailed information on licensing technologies from NASA Armstrong. And, as always, feel free to contact us with any questions.
For additional licensing assistance, please email us at AFRC-TTO@mail.nasa.gov.
Licensing NASA Armstrong Technologies
NASA Armstrong’s world-class researchers continually develop innovations to benefit the space program. NASA Armstrong’s Technology Transfer Office is tasked with helping industry benefit from these inventions by widely disseminating the technologies for scientific, academic, industrial, and commercial use. In order to protect the Government’s interests, the technologies are patented, marketed, and licensed to partners for commercial applications.
Many of NASA Armstrong’s patents and patent applications are available for licensing. You can find these technologies under the Technologies Available for License section of our Web site. NASA has recently expanded its licensing options to include evaluation licenses to complement the traditional commercial licenses offered at NASA. You can find more details below.
In addition to patent licensing, some of NASA’s software technologies are distributed under Software Usage Agreements. Please visit the NASA Software Catalog to see if NASA has software that you can use.
Licensing Options Available at NASA Armstrong
- Evaluation License
- Commercial License
- Startup NASA License
NASA Armstrong offers evaluation licenses so that organizations can “test drive” the commercial viability of NASA technologies with minimal risk and minimal up-front commitment. Evaluation licenses are non-exclusive, short-term (one year), and low cost. This license allows companies to explore a technology’s potential and learn how it will advance business development goals. See our 1-page information sheet on evaluation licenses for more detailed information. Applications for evaluation licenses are streamlined and require minimal negotiation. Any of our technologies in our Patent Portfolio are available for an evaluation license.
NASA licenses patented and patent-pending technologies to private industry in compliance with 37 CFR, Section 404, "Licensing of Government-Owned Inventions.” All of NASA’s commercial licenses are individually negotiated and each license contains terms concerning technology transfer (practical application), license duration, royalties, and periodic reporting—information that constitutes the business terms of the license.
Companies interested in licensing one or more of NASA Armstrong’s innovative technologies are encouraged to email us at AFRC-TTO@mail.nasa.gov to discuss licensing needs and objectives. Our staff will guide you through the licensing process. See our 1-page information sheet on commercial licenses for more detailed information. Access to those technologies available for commercial license are in our Patent Portfolio.
Licenses may be exclusive, non-exclusive, or partially exclusive within a particular field of use or geographic area. Requests for exclusive and partially exclusive licenses must go through an additional step prior to granting the license. For exclusive licenses, NASA Armstrong must place a notice of the prospective license, identifying the invention and the prospective licensee, in the Federal Register. This provides an opportunity for other prospects to file written objections within a 15-day period. Any objections are taken into consideration by NASA Armstrong’s agreements manager in making the final recommendation to the NASA Associate General Counsel for Intellectual Property.
NASA Armstrong’s Technology Transfer Office will maintain the License Application, Commercialization Plan, and license itself in strict confidence. None of this information is subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
After the license is granted, the NASA Armstrong’s Technology Transfer Office monitors the licensee’s sales of products and services that use the licensed technologies. NASA Armstrong’s Technology Transfer Office may write success stories and, upon approval by the licensee, these may be published on NASA’s Web site, in NASA’s Spinoff magazine, or in other publications.
NASA is offering a special category of commercial licenses through their Startup NASA Initiative. This is open only to companies formed with the express intent of commercializing licensed NASA technology. These Startup Licenses are non-exclusive only. Additional details can be found on the Agency Startup NASA site.
How to Partner with NASA Armstrong
Partnerships at NASA Armstrong are typically formalized in a Space Act Agreement, which is a vehicle for working with NASA—not a procurement contract. Under an SAA, our licensees can gain access to NASA Armstrong innovators and use our unique facilities to support their research and development efforts for commercializing licensed NASA technology. In these agreements, no goods or services are provided to NASA.
Depending on the nature of the project, a Space Act Agreement may be:
- Reimbursable, where the external party reimburses NASA Armstrong for the Center’s labor, equipment, and/or facilities, or
- Non-reimbursable, where each party contributes to the project at its own expense.
Please call 661-276-3368 or send an email to AFRC-TTO@mail.nasa.gov to discuss licensing-related partnering opportunities with NASA Armstrong. Or see our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.
In addition to partnerships associated with licensing our technology, NASA Armstrong is also interested in a variety of other partnerships. For more information, please contact John Del Frate at 661-276-3704 or John.H.DelFrate@nasa.gov.