Patent rights to inventions made in the performance of work under a contract with the federal government are governed by Subpart 27.3 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation. This subpart attempts to strike a balance among the interests of the government, the contractor, and the American public in innovations funded by taxpayer dollars.
The government's policy concerning patent rights arising from performance of a contract for the government is set forth in FAR 27.302. This policy is intended to realize the following objectives:
- Promote the use of inventions from federally supported research and development;
- Encourage industry participation in federally supported research and development efforts;
- Promote free enterprise without unduly encumbering future research;
- Promote commercialization of inventions made in the United States;
- Ensure the government obtains sufficient rights in federally supported inventions to meet the needs of government and protect the public from nonuse or unreasonable use of inventions; and
- Minimize the cost of administering patent policies. FAR 27.302(a)
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