Not only will atomic power be released, but someday we will harness the rise and fall of the tides and imprison the rays of the sun. Thomas A. Edison

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sustainable Plant: DOE Launches ‘America's Next Top Energy Innovator’

Do you think that starting a business to market a new product requires vast amounts of research and development? What if somebody has already done that for you? Instead of investing millions to create something new, what if you could pay $1,000 for the license to market a new idea from the Department of Energy?
There are 15,000 new patents or patent applications "floating around" the 17 national laboratories and they are not hitting the market! Sustainable Plant reports on a new initiative this coming May that might just be the thing for a budding entreprenuer.

DOE Launches ‘America's Next Top Energy Innovator’ By Sustainable Plant Staff March 30, 2011 03:29:37 pm

As part of the Obama Administration's Startup America Initiative, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the "America's Next Top Energy Innovator" challenge, which will give start-up companies the opportunity to license groundbreaking technologies developed by the National Laboratories for $1,000 and build successful businesses. As part of this effort, the Department is reducing both the cost and paperwork requirements for start-up companies to obtain an option agreement to license some of the 15,000 patents and patent applications held by the 17 U.S. National Laboratories.

"America's entrepreneurs and innovators are the best in the world," said Chu. "Today, we're challenging them to create new businesses based on discoveries made by our world-leading national laboratories. Because we've cut the upfront fees and reduced the paperwork, we'll make it easier for start-up companies to succeed and create the new jobs our economy needs. Our goal is simple: unleash America's innovation machine and win the global race for the clean energy jobs of the future."

Currently, only about 10 percent of federal patents have been licensed to be commercialized. This initiative aims to double the number of startup companies coming out of the National Laboratories.

Specifically, as part of "America's Next Top Energy Innovator:

1. On Monday, May 2, 2011, the department will kick off the challenge by posting a streamlined template option agreement online for entrepreneurs to submit to Laboratories. Entrepreneurs must identify the technology of interest and submit a business plan to be considered for the program. Participants will have until December 15 to make their submission to the laboratory.

2. Any of the 15,000 unlicensed patents and patent applications held by the national laboratories will be available for licensing by startup companies.

3. From May 2 to December 15, the department will reduce the total upfront cost of licensing DOE patents in a specific technology to a $1,000 upfront fee for portfolios of up to three patents. This represents a savings of $10,000 to $50,000 on average in upfront fees.

4. Other license terms, such as equity and royalties, will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis and will typically be due once the company grows and achieves wide-scale commercial success. These fees help support the department's continuing research activities to develop new technologies.

5. The department will simplify the licensing process and establish a standard set of terms for start-ups, who generally lack the resources, time or expertise to negotiate individual licensing agreements. This will significantly reduce both the time and cost required to process the license, allowing faster access to the department's patents and enabling the department to process more licenses in a shorter amount of time.

Remember, for every dollar that you don't have to spend in R&D, there's that much available for production and marketing. Money can be very ecologically friendly... it's already green!

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