A former National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) employee requested that GAO review a prior decision which disallowed his claim for attorney fees. The employee incurred the fees while protecting his patent in an interference action against the government. In 1969, the employee and NASA entered into an agreement which stated that, in exchange for NASA incurring all costs required for securing a patent, the employee would grant the government a nonexclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license of the invention and to any patents that might issue from it. Several months later, NASA filed another patent on the same day that the employee's patent was being processed. The employee informed NASA that he believed that certain claims in the second application belonged to him. As a result, the employee filed an interference claim against the government. In 1975, the Board of Patent Interference awarded priority of invention on all claims in dispute to the employee. Subsequently, the employee filed a claim against the government for attorney fees that he had incurred in prosecuting the interference. He contended that the claim arose because of a failure by NASA to honor the terms of their contract. The employee now argues that certain issues in the original claim were not addressed. In reviewing the settlement of that claim, GAO found that the issues raised by the employee were without merit. In addition, GAO concluded that NASA had fulfilled its contractual obligations to the employee. Accordingly, the prior decision was affirmed.
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