NASA Licenses Patent Portfolio to Achieve Widest Possible Distribution of Technology
NASA will enter into a range of different patent license agreements from no-cost evaluation licenses up to exclusive license. The agency’s goal in licensing technologies is to reach the widest distribution possible for the commercialized technology. To some, it may seem unusual that exclusive licenses would be part of NASA’s licensing options if the goal was truly the widest distribution possible. “We’ll only grant an exclusive license if we believe that exclusivity leads to the widest distribution,” Lockney said, noting that there were a couple of examples where such a situation could play out. An exclusive license for the broadest possible distribution could make sense if the technology was being commercialized in a medical device and a single multinational company offers an incredibly broad distribution model; such was the case with a flexible insulating plastic material for use with pacemaker wires recently licensed by NASA with Medtronic. In other situations where multiple companies occupy the same market, NASA might grant an exclusive license to one company if it’s determined that, without the exclusivity, none of the firms could invest adequately in commercializing the technology.