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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 1, 2000


Today I signed into law H.R. 209, the "Technology Transfer Commercialization Act of 2000."

In 1986, the Congress passed the Federal Technology Transfer Act (FTTA). That Act built upon the basic premise of the earlier Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act and the Bayh-Dole Act, namely, that Federal laboratories create technologies that businesses may desire to develop commercially as a source of competitive advantage. The FTTA established new partnering policies for Government laboratories in the earliest stages of research through mechanisms such as the Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA). Since that time, American taxpayers have seen how Government-owned innovations can be brought into the marketplace to create consumer products, thereby improving our quality of life and enhancing our international competitiveness.

The Act will help ensure that the benefits of Federal research translate into new products and opportunities for the American public. It simplifies the process of licensing Government-owned inventions to the private sector by allowing the licensing of preexisting inventions that arise under CRADAs so that the private sector partner has access to the relevant technology. The Act also authorizes Federal agencies to acquire rights in related privately owned inventions, so as to create a more effective portfolio for licensing.

The Act will remove procedural obstacles to technology transfer and directs agencies to consider the increasingly international environment of innovation. It recognizes that, in many cases, the necessary period for notice by a Federal agency of its intent to grant exclusive licenses can be shortened using both traditional and electronic means for providing the notice. In making decisions about appropriate notice periods, Federal agencies must continue to balance the need for promptness against the fundamental statutory purpose of ensuring that these inventions are used in a way that benefits the public. I expect that individual agencies will use their discretion responsibly in setting the period for comment on proposed exclusive licenses and will bear in mind that the 15-day period provided in this Act is a minimum requirement that may not be appropriate in all situations.

I fully support the effort, under the policy leadership of the Department of Commerce, to improve the transfer of valuable technology from Federal laboratories to the private sector.


                         THE WHITE HOUSE,
                         November 1, 2000.

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