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Patents and Licenses

ERDC continually assesses the commercial potential of its technologies. Patent, trademark or other intellectual protection is pursued for those technologies deemed  commercially viable.

ERDC is authorized to license its patented and patent-pending intellectual property to private industry and other entities. Firms can buy certain rights to ERDC intellectual property for commercialization and/or private use. The patent license agreement (PLA) may be nonexclusive, partially exclusive or exclusive. The royalty is negotiated on a case-by-case basis and takes many factors into account such as market size, exclusivity or whether additional technology development is needed. The laboratory may provide technical assistance on a reimbursable basis if needed to further develop the technology.

We can also license scientific and technical software developed by our research and development staff for a royalty or other legal consideration. For more information on the types of software available visit our laboratory websites.

Licensing Process

The first step in obtaining a license to an ERDC patent, patent pending or copyrighted software is to contact the closest Technology Transfer Officer (TTO) at the ERDC Office of Technology Transfer and Outreach. The TTO will provide  the necessary instructions for preparing a license application. When the application is received, it will be forwarded to an evaluation board for review. If the board has questions or needs additional information, the TTO will inform you of the request. The board's comments and recommendations are sent to the laboratory director, who then provides comments and instructions to the TTO regarding ERDC's response to the applicant. If the recommendation is favorable, the TTO will prepare a draft patent license agreement (PLA) incorporating the offer.

Guidelines to consider when developing your license application:

  • Prepare a commercialization plan for the technology. Include specific information on your plan and capabilities for manufacturing and marketing the technology and information on the structure and funding of your enterprise.
  • All ERDC licenses are individually negotiated with the prospective licensee. The PLA contains terms and clauses pertaining to transfer of the technology or commercialization, license duration, royalties, periodic reporting and other conditions. A PLA may also contain provision for ERDC to aid the licensee in the development and commercialization of the technology on a reimbursable basis or other negotiated basis.
  • Royalties may be negotiated as upfront fees, annual fees, percentage of sales or any combination thereof.
  • A license is nonassignable without approval of ERDC.
  • Exclusive or partially exclusive licenses may be granted provided ample justification is provided. For such licenses, ERDC is required to publish a notice of the proposed license in the Federal Register, providing a 15-day period for the public to file written objections.