DOE signs IP enhancement to solid-state lighting program

June 28, 2005
A recently signed IP provision should accelerate the market introduction of solid-state lighting technology developed by the US DOE program
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has signed an Exceptional Circumstances Determination for inventions arising under the DOE Solid-State Lighting (SSL) research program.

This exceptional circumstance to the Bayh-Dole Act places guidance on intellectual property (IP) generated under the Core Technology Research program area. This program area creates technology breakthroughs that can be widely applicable to future products.

The Exceptional Circumstances Determination is supported by Congress and DOE, and will facilitate more rapid utilization of new SSL technology developed through the DOE program. To download a PDF copy of the Determination, visit the DOE SSL website.

Exceptional Circumstances

Small businesses and non-profits (such as universities) working under US government funding cannot be made to give up IP rights that they might acquire unless exceptional circumstances apply.

If for example a university received a cooperative agreement for core technology work in solid-state lighting and patented an invention, the exceptional circumstances determination would mean that the university would be obliged to negotiate a fair license to allow the industry partners in the program area to use that invention.

This would not provide royalty-free access - the negotiations would be in good faith for royalty at a reasonable rate. This is consistent with the DOE's desire that the inventions are embraced by industry and make it into the marketplace, to develop end products that will save energy.