Legal Insights: Negotiating CRADAs
Winter 2019

Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) are arrangements between a federal agency, in the form of a government-owned laboratory (either government or contractor-operated) and another party, often referred to as a “collaborator.” CRADAs facilitate the transfer of technology from the federal government to the private sector by making available government facilities, intellectual property, and expertise in collaboration with industry and other types of entities. These agreements are intended to lead to the development of commercial products. The chief benefit of a CRADA to a collaborator is that it may obtain rights to the intellectual property that is produced by the joint research and development effort. In return, the federal laboratory receives resources that advance its research and development mission. To successfully negotiate a CRADA, prospective collaborators must understand what a CRADA is, how it is structured, and the issues that need to be resolved before the agreement can be executed.

Authorizing Legislation

CRADAs are authorized by the Stevenson-Wydler Act. These instruments are defined by the Act as any agreement between one or more federal laboratories and one or more non-federal parties under which the federal government, through its laboratories, provides personnel, services, facilities, equipment, intellectual property, or other resources with or without reimbursement. The non­federal party provides funds, personnel, services, facilities, equipment, intellectual property, or other resources toward the conduct of specified research or development efforts which are consistent with the missions of the laboratory. Sharing of resources is not completely reciprocal however, as the laboratory is prohibited from providing funds to the collaborator. 15 USC Section 3710a(d)(1).

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