Patent Rights Under Government Contracts
Summer 2019

Patent rights to inventions made in the performance of work under a contract with the federal government are governed by Subpart 27.3 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation. This subpart attempts to strike a balance among the interests of the government, the contractor, and the American public in innovations funded by taxpayer dollars.

Government Policy

The government’s policy concerning patent rights arising from performance of a contract for the government is set forth in FAR 27.302. This policy is intended to realize the following objectives:

  • Promote the use of inventions from federally supported research and development;
  • Encourage industry participation in federally supported research and development efforts;
  • Promote free enterprise without unduly encumbering future research;
  • Promote commercialization of inventions made in the United States;
  • Ensure the government obtains sufficient rights in federally supported inventions to meet the needs of government and protect the public from nonuse or unreasonable use of inventions; and
  • Minimize the cost of administering patent policies. FAR 27.302(a).

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