Sandia National Laboratories is building a select portfolio of intellectual property (IP) that can be licensed by businesses in as little as an hour. Sandia’s goal is to get more of the national labs’ innovations into the hands of small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Sandia has about 1,300 patents available for licensing. Sandia business development specialist Bob Westervelt said the licensing group, which works with companies of all sizes, noticed that smaller businesses often are daunted by the number of patents to search through and the complex licensing process.
Recently, the group came up with the idea of creating a standard license for certain IP it identifies as being desirable. Small businesses can lack the time or manpower to sift through 1,300 patents to see whether Sandia has something that might help them be more successful.
If we give them a shorter list and simplify the process, they’re more likely to notice good opportunities.—Bob Westervelt
The ready-to-sign license is uncomplicated, with simplified language and pared-down terms, conditions and reporting requirements, and is relatively low cost, with up-front fees in the $3,000 range, and low-percentage royalties.
So far eight patents qualify for the program, from a drive system for industrial applications that require high torque and low rpm to a compact spectrometer that can detect trace amounts of gases such as carbon monoxide and methane to a vehicle barrier that holds up to a powerful impact. More ready-to-sign licenses are in the pipeline; Westervelt said the group hopes to assemble a portfolio of about 50.
The licenses are nonexclusive, so any number of companies can make use of a technology.