NASA offers free access to its patents for startup entrepreneurs

Yeah, when we say free, that is only for three years

Seemingly bored of rockets, NASA is launching its Startup program, in which it will license its technologies to entrepreneurs with no up-front payment.

"The Startup NASA initiative addresses two common problems startups face: raising capital and securing intellectual property rights," stated the agency's release.

The programme intends to encourage high-tech business growth, and advance American innovation.

The Register has contacted NASA to confirm whether the licence availability would be limited to US companies. We are waiting for a response, but a NASA press officer told us he expected that to be the case.

Subordinated within NASA's Technology Transfer Program, within the Office of the Chief Technologist, Startup NASA will allow "startup companies to choose from a diverse portfolio of more than 1,200 patented NASA technologies".

NASA's patent portfolio is split into 15 sections, including Aeronautics, Electrical/Electronics, IT and Software, Materials and Coatings, Power Generation, Storage, as well as Robotics, Automation and Control.

"The Startup NASA initiative leverages the results of our cutting-edge research and development so entrepreneurs can take that research – and some risks – to create new products and new services," said David Miller, NASA's chief technologist.

The licences are open to companies formed with the express intent of commercialising the licensed NASA technology.

They will be offered in exchange for a running royalty of 4.2 per cent of net sales, with a minimum of $3,000, but only after the first three years after the license commencement date has elapsed. ®

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