Major Federal Research and Development Agencies Are Implementing the Patent and Trademark Amendments of 1980

RCED-84-26: Published: Feb 28, 1984. Publicly Released: Feb 28, 1984.

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GAO reported on activities of Federal agencies under Chapter 18 of the Patent and Trademark Amendments of 1980, as required by law.

Chapter 18 of the law establishes a uniform patent policy for assigning title to inventions made by small businesses and nonprofit organizations under federally sponsored research projects. Specifically, GAO reviewed: (1) Federal research and development (R&D) agencies' implementation of Public Law 96-517 and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-124; (2) the Department of Commerce's efforts to fulfill its lead agency responsibilities outlined in the OMB circular; and (3) Federal R&D agencies' exceptional circumstance determinations. GAO also provided an update on the President's proposed changes in Government patent policy to apply Public Law 96-517 provisions to all contractors. GAO found that all five Federal R&D agencies incorporated provisions of the law and regulations into their procurement regulations and that Commerce is monitoring Federal agencies' regulations and procedures for implementing the law. GAO noted that the Department of Defense did not submit the documentation that Commerce requested but did respond orally. OMB is reviewing Commerce's efforts to implement Circular A-124. As of December 1, 1983, the Comptroller General received seven exceptional circumstance determinations, six from the Department of Energy and one from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. However, GAO found that no pattern of exceptional circumstance determinations exists that is contrary to the policy or objectives of the law or not in conformance with it.

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