This page answers common questions about technology licensing, partnerships, and privacy issues.
Contact the JSC TTO for more information.
How do I find out what technologies are available for license?
Please visit the Technology section of our Web site.
Whom do I contact to get more information about a specific technology?
Please contact:JSC Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office by phone at (281) 483-3809 or e-mail
What is a license agreement?
JSC has the authority to grant licenses to patented and patent-pending technologies and inventions. All licenses are individually negotiated with the prospective licensee, and each license contains terms concerning commercialization, license duration, royalties, and periodic reporting. Licenses may be exclusive, co-exclusive, partially exclusive and non-exclusive.› Return to All Licensing Questions
Will JSC grant exclusivity for a particular technology?
Licenses may be exclusive, co-exclusive, partially exclusive, or non-exclusive. JSC will consider requests for either all types of licenses. For exclusive, co-exclusive, and partially exclusive licenses, JSC is required to publish a notice of a prospective license in the Federal Register identifying the invention and proposed licensee and providing at least a 15-day period for the public to file written objections. Any objections received during this time period will be reviewed and evaluated by JSC prior to making a final licensing determination. Non-exclusive licenses may be granted for federally owned inventions without publication in the Federal Register.› Return to All Licensing Questions
What happens if another organization is interested in the same technology that I want to license?
There are a number of possible license agreements: non-exclusive, exclusive, co-exclusive, exclusive in a particular field of use or in a geographic region, and various combinations of these. JSC requires interested parties to submit a commercialization plan for the particular technology. JSC uses this plan to determine which licensing arrangement will be best for everyone involved.› Return to All Licensing Questions
How long does the patent licensing process take?
The process generally takes about three to four months after receipt of Part 1 of the license application. Exclusive licenses take longer and are highly dependent on the complexity of the application.› Return to All Licensing Questions
How much will I have to pay up front?
Upfront fees vary greatly and are negotiated after submission of the license application and supporting income pro forma.› Return to All Licensing Questions
What percentage in royalties does JSC require under a license agreement?
The percentage in royalties to be paid to JSC under a license agreement is negotiable and dependent upon a number of factors, including the type of license issued (e.g., exclusive or non-exclusive) and other market considerations.› Return to All Licensing Questions
How do I find out what software is available?
Please visit the Software section of our Web site.› Return to All Software Questions
How can I access software?
You can request access to any of JSC’s software titles by filing a request for Software Usage Agreement (SUA) [hyperlink to a SUA request form that JSC uses]. An SUA provides external organizations with access to JSC software. Depending on the type of software, availability may be limited to federal government only, or to US persons only. In addition, software that is patented can be licensed. Please look at the specific software page for information on what opportunities are available for that software.
What is a Software Usage Agreement?
Software Usage Agreements (SUAs) provide external organizations with access to JSC software. Depending on the type of software, availability may be limited to federal government only or to US persons only.› Return to All Software Questions
What is a Space Act Agreement?
A Space Act Agreement (SAA) is the most common legal vehicle for partnering with JSC. These agreements are similar to the Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) offered by other Government agencies, but are based on NASA’s enabling legislation. Space Act Agreements can be non-reimbursable or reimbursable.
Non-reimbursable Space Act Agreements are collaborative agreements in which NASA and the other party each contribute resources, which can include personnel, facilities, expertise, equipment or technology, with no transfer of funds. Each party funds its own participation in the activity for their mutual benefit.
In a reimbursable Space Act Agreement, the external party pays JSC for the use of JSC resources such as personnel, expertise, facilities, equipment, or technology. Terms, conditions, and schedules are negotiable.› Return to All Partnering Questions
What is the difference between an SAA and a CRADA?
Space Act Agreements (SAAs) and CRADAs serve essentially the same purpose. Authorized by the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958→ , SAAs are flexible agreements that allow NASA to work cooperatively with industry and academia.
The Technology Innovation Act of 1980 authorizes other government research organizations, which did not have similar provisions in their charters, to use CRADAs.› Return to All Partnering Questions
Can collaborations begin before the partnership agreement is officially signed?
Limited activities such as non-disclosing technical discussions can occur prior to signing the agreement.› Return to All Partnering Questions
What can JSC contribute (e.g., money, personnel, materials, facilities, and services) under a partnership agreement? What can my organization contribute?
JSC can contribute nearly all of these items; however, it cannot transfer appropriated funds to the partner. The partner can contribute all of these items. The contributions of each party are negotiated by JSC and the partner.› Return to All Partnering Questions
Can industry, academia, or individuals use JSC facilities? Is there a charge for the usage?
JSC facilities can be used on a space-available basis, although NASA mission needs will always take precedence, regardless of any previously agreed upon schedules. Should the research to be conducted be of value to a JSC mission, JSC may cover some expenses; however, the results could eventually be publicly released by NASA. Please refer to the questions below on Privacy.› Return to All Partnering Questions
Who owns inventions created under a Space Act Agreement?
Patent and data rights will be defined in the Space Act Agreement and negotiated in accordance with applicable law. Generally, industry or academia may retain rights if the technology is invented solely by its employees. JSC may retain the rights if the technology is invented solely by JSC employees. A jointly owned patent will result if employees of each party contribute to the invention. Additional information on intellectual property rights can be found on the NASA General Counsel Web site→ .› Return to All Partnering Questions
What is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)/Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)?
An MOU/MOA is an agreement vehicle that is often used when NASA enters into a collaborative project with another government entity. It can also be used in some cases for partnerships with universities and companies.› Return to All Partnering Questions
Will JSC sign a Nondisclosure Agreement?
All NASA civil servants are generally instructed not to sign nondisclosure agreements, because they are prohibited from sharing proprietary information obtained from external parties under 18 U.S.C. § 1905, which provides:
› Return to All Privacy Questions
"Whoever, being an employee of the United States..., publishes, divulges, discloses or makes known in any manner... any information coming to him in the course of his... official duties..., which information concerns or relates to trade secrets, processes, operations, style of work, or apparatus, or to the identity, confidential statistical data, amount or source of any income, profits, losses, or expenditures of any person, firm, partnership, corporation, or association...shall be fined not more than $1,000, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and shall be removed from office or employment."
Are discussions with JSC personnel kept confidential? What about the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?
JSC personnel are obligated by law to keep all proprietary information confidential if identified as such. Company trade secret information revealed to JSC in the process of negotiating and signing a partnership agreement or license is exempt from FOIA.› Return to All Privacy Questions
Must the data resulting from a partnership with JSC be made public?
Partnership agreements can contain their own nondisclosure and IP ownership clauses based on what is appropriate for each arrangement.› Return to All Privacy Questions
Must the data resulting from the work in a JSC facility be made public?
If the external party pays the total cost associated with use of the facility, the data will not be made public unless otherwise agreed to. However, if the research to be conducted is of interest to NASA and JSC covers some of the expenses, then the results could eventually be publicly released by NASA.› Return to All Privacy Questions