Implementation Status of the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986

T-RCED-89-47: Published: Jun 1, 1989. Publicly Released: Jun 1, 1989.

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GAO discussed the implementation status of the Technology Transfer Act of 1986, focusing on the progress that 12 federal agencies and 25 of their laboratories made in implementing the act. GAO found that: (1) 10 of the 12 agencies had delegated authority to enter into cooperative agreements; (2) two agencies did not delegate because one opted to continue its technology transfer activities under another act and the other's laboratories lacked the legal capabilities to protect the government's interests; (3) 15 of the 25 laboratories delegated authority to enter into cooperative agreements, while 10 laboratories either were not considered laboratories or their respective agencies had not delegated such authority to their level; (4) the 12 agencies reported a total of 1,200 agreements in both 1987 and 1988; (5) the agencies reported different types of agreements, since the act provided agencies flexibility in defining cooperative agreements; (6) as of February 1989, the 12 agencies reported entering into 172 agreements under the act; (7) the act required agencies to distribute at least 15 percent of royalties and other income, up to $100,000 a year per person, for property rights; (8) nine agencies collected about $4.6 million from royalties and licensing fees from October 1986 through September 1988; (9) some agencies had cash award programs to reward their employees for promoting technology transfer; and (10) with the exception of the Department of Commerce, all agencies had submitted their required reports to Congress.

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