Aimed at encouraging the growth of high-tech businesses and advancing innovation, NASA's Technology Transfer Program within the Office of the Chief Technologist designed this initiative to allow start-up companies to choose from a diverse portfolio of more than 1200 patented NASA technologies that range from materials and coatings to sensors, aeronautics technologies, instrumentation and more.
"The Startup NASA initiative leverages the results of our cutting-edge research and development so entrepreneurs can take that research - and some risks - to create new products and new services," said David Miller, NASA's chief technologist.
NASA has created an online patent portfolio covering 15 categories and packed with patents protected by the U.S. government. Once a desired technology is identified, an online application can be filled out and submitted through the website.
Although the license itself is free, the start-up companies must adhere to the following guidelines:
•This offer is open only to companies formed with the express intent of commercialising the licensed NASA technology.
•"No up-front payment" means NASA waives the initial licensing fees, and there are no minimum fees for the first three years.
•Once the company starts selling a product, NASA will collect a standard net royalty fee. This money goes first to the inventor and then to maintaining the agency's technology transfer activities and technology advancement.
•This announcement applies only to non-exclusive licenses, which means other companies may apply for similar rights to use the technology for commercial purposes. However, NASA will consider further exclusivity if the start-up wishes to negotiate.
•Companies entering into these licenses are bound by all requirements in federal licensing statutes and NASA policies, including development of a commercialisation plan and reporting on efforts to achieve practical application.