Proposed STTR Policy Directive 2003
Section 8 - Terms of Agreement Under STTR Awards
8. Terms of Agreement Under STTR Awards
(a) Proprietary Information Contained in Proposals. The standardized STTR Program solicitation will include provisions requiring the confidential treatment of any proprietary information to the extent permitted by law. Agencies will discourage SBCs from submitting information considered proprietary unless the information is deemed essential for proper evaluation of the proposal. The solicitation will require that all proprietary information be identified clearly and marked with a prescribed legend. Agencies may elect to require SBCs to limit proprietary information to that essential to the proposal and to have such information submitted on a separate page or pages keyed to the text. The government, except for proposal review purposes, protects all proprietary information, regardless of type, submitted in a contract proposal or grant application for a funding agreement under the STTR Program, from disclosure.
(b) Rights in Data Developed Under STTR Funding Agreement. The Act provides for ``retention by an SBC of the rights to data generated by the concern in the performance of an STTR award.''
(1) Each agency must refrain from disclosing STTR technical data to outside the government (except reviewers) and especially to competitors of the SBC, or from using the information to produce future technical procurement specifications that could harm the SBC that discovered and developed the innovation.
(2) STTR agencies must protect from disclosure and non-governmental use all STTR technical data developed from work performed under an STTR funding agreement for a period of not less than 4 years from delivery of the last deliverable under that agreement (either Phase I, Phase II, or Federally-funded STTR Phase III) unless, subject to (b)(3) of this section, the agency obtains permission to disclose such STTR technical data from the awardee or STTR applicant. Agencies are released from obligation to protect STTR data upon expiration of the protection period except that any such data that is also protected and referenced under a subsequent STTR award must remain protected through the protection period of that subsequent STTR award. For example, if a Phase III award is issued within or after the Phase II data rights protection period and the Phase III award refers to and protects data developed and protected under the Phase II award, then that data must continue to be protected through the Phase III protection period. Agencies have discretion to adopt a protection period longer than four years. The government retains a royalty-free license for government use of any technical data delivered under an STTR award, whether patented or not. This section does not apply to program evaluation.
(3) STTR technical data rights apply to all STTR awards, including subcontracts to such awards, that fall within the statutory definition of Phase I, II, or III of the STTR Program, as described in Section 4 of this Policy Directive. The scope and extent of the STTR technical data rights applicable to Federally-funded Phase III awards is identical to the STTR data rights applicable to Phases I and II STTR awards. The data rights protection period lapses only: (i) upon expiration of the protection period applicable to the STTR award, or (ii) by agreement between the awardee and the agency.
(4) Agencies must insert the provisions of (b)(1), (2), and (3) immediately above as STTR data rights clauses into all STTR Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III awards. These data rights clauses are non- negotiable and must not be the subject of negotiations pertaining to an STTR Phase III award, or diminished or removed during award administration. An agency must not, in any way, make issuance of an STTR Phase III award conditional on data rights. If the STTR awardee wishes to transfer its STTR data rights to the awarding agency or to a third party, it must do so in writing under a separate agreement. A decision by the awardee to relinquish, transfer, or modify in any way its STTR data rights must be made without pressure or coercion by the agency or any other party. Following issuance of an STTR Phase III award, the awardee may enter into an agreement with the awarding agency to transfer or modify the data rights contained in that STTR Phase III award. Such a bilateral data rights agreement must be entered into only after the STTR Phase III award, which includes the appropriate STTR data rights clause, has been signed. SBA must immediately report to the Congress any attempt or action by an agency to condition an STTR award on data rights, to exclude the appropriate data rights clause from the award, or to diminish such rights.
(c) Allocation of Rights.
(1) An SBC, before receiving an STTR award, must negotiate a written agreement between the SBC and the single, partnering research institution, allocating intellectual property rights and rights, if any, to carry out follow-on research, development, or commercialization. The SBC must submit this agreement to the awarding agency upon request--either with the proposal or any time thereafter. The SBC must certify in all proposals that the agreement is satisfactory to the SBC.
(2) The awarding agency may accept an existing agreement between the two parties if the SBC certifies its satisfaction with the agreement, and such agreement does not conflict with the interests of the Government. Each agency participating in the STTR Program shall provide a model agreement to be used as guidance by the SBC in the development of an agreement with the research institution. The model agreement should direct the parties to, at a minimum:
The Government will not normally be a party to any agreement between the SBC and the research institution. Nothing in the agreement is to conflict with any provisions setting forth the respective rights of the United States and the SBC with respect to intellectual property rights and with respect to any right to carry out follow-on research.
(3) Pursuant to the Act, SBA will establish a single model agreement for use in the STTR Program that allocates between SBCs and research institutions intellectual property rights and rights, if any, to carry out follow-on research, development, or commercialization. Written comments from affected Federal agencies, SBCs, research institutions, and other interested parties will be solicited in the development of the model agreement. Each agency participating in the STTR Program will adopt the agreement developed by SBA as the agency's model agreement.
(d) Title Transfer of Agency Provided Property. Under the Act, the Government may transfer title to equipment provided by the STTR agency to the awardee where such transfer would be more cost effective than recovery of the property.
(e) Continued Use of Government Equipment. The Act directs that an agency allow an STTR awardee participating in the third phase of the STTR Program continued use, as a directed bailment, of any property transferred by the agency to the Phase II awardee. The Phase II awardee may use the property for a period of not less than 2 years, beginning on the initial date of the concern's participation in the third phase of the STTR Program.
(f) Grant Authority. The Act does not, in and of itself, convey grant authority. Each agency must secure grant authority in accordance with its normal procedures.
(g) Conflicts of Interest. SBA cautions STTR agencies that awards made to SBCs owned by or employing current or previous Federal government employees may create conflicts of interest in violation of FAR part 3 and the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, as amended. Each STTR agency should refer to the standards of conduct review procedures currently in effect for its agency to ensure that such conflicts of interest do not arise.
(h) American-made Equipment and Products. Congress intends that the awardee of a funding agreement under the STTR Program should, when purchasing any equipment or a product with funds provided through the funding agreement, purchase only American-made equipment and products, to the extent possible, in keeping with the overall purposes of this program. Each STTR agency must provide to each awardee a notice of this requirement.