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Licensing Pathway

The USGS encourages employee innovation and promotes the commercialization of employee inventions through patenting and licensing of intellectual property. Intellectual property is intangible property, the rights to which can be bought and sold, leased or rented, or otherwise transferred between parties.

STEP 1: Discover

Do you have an idea, invention, or product you’d like to further develop? USGS' laboratories have a wealth of facilities, equipment, expertise, and technologies available for licensing that you can utilize to create business solutions and introduce your new technologies to the marketplace. Determine what you need by searching our Patents - Licenses site.


STEP 2: Apply

Now that you’ve identified potential technology, it’s time to reach out to the USGS' Office of Policy and Analysis (OPA). OPA will assist in determining the best route for accessing the technology.  If a license is required, you will complete a License Application for an Evaluation License, or an Exclusive or Non-Exclusive License.


STEP 3: Set Terms

It’s time to initiate, negotiate, and complete an agreement between you and the USGS. This stage in the process can take some time to complete considering all of the complex factors both parties involved need to consider during negotiations, unless a *STREAMLINED* Evaluation License is sought. Considerations include the developmental stage of the technology, additional partners, risk vs. potential return on investment, among others.


STEP 4: Sign

When terms for the license are set, USGS and partners will execute the license under the terms of the agreement. After the license is granted, USGS monitors the licensee’s sales of products and services that use the licensed technologies. Upon approval by the licensee, our team may write success stories on USGS' website and publish these in other publications.


STEP 5: License

You’ve reached the end of the licensing process, and it’s now time to commercialize! You’re now on the path to access technology  never before utilized. USGS will follow up to ensure quality control, resolve any issues that may arise, and may introduce potential third-party partners for sublicensing or joint development, among other administrative procedures.


Patenting Resources

Federal Technology Transfer Legislation and Policy

What is Technology Transfer?

USPTO Resources for Inventors