DC Dispatch

DC Dispatch - November 3, 2016

NIST Issues Final Rule on Personnel Exchanges

NIST has now issued: its final rule on Personnel Exchanges (see Dispatch 7-15-16). From the Federal Register Notice, “[T]his final rule clarifies the appropriate use of Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) authority by a Federal laboratory for personnel exchanges where the Federal laboratory has an existing relationship with the potential partner through another legal mechanism, as well as in the context of joint research projects or the development of existing laboratory technology, and through use of the General Services Administration's Presidential Innovation Fellows program for Federal laboratory Entrepreneur-In-Residence programs. Another objective of this rulemaking is to remove outdated regulations addressing the licensing of inventions owned by the Department of Commerce.” (Original Sources: FRN web site) 

USPTO Issues Memorandum on Software Eligibility

The USPTO has issued a memorandum: to the patent examining corps with a focus on recent subject matter eligibility court decisions – and their impact on software eligibility. IP-Watchdog’s summary of the memorandum, notes that “[E]arlier today [Nov 2] the [USPTO] issued a new memorandum to patent examiners on recent software patent eligibility decisions from the Federal Circuit. The memo sent to the patent examining corps from Robert Bahr, who is Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy, explains that this most recent memorandum provides examiners with discussion of McRo, Inc. v. Bandai Namco Games America and BASCOM Global Internet Services v. AT&T Mobility. Bahr acknowledges in the memo that the Federal Circuit yesterday issued another presidential decision in Amdocs (Israel) Ltd. v. Openet Telecom, which will be discussed in forthcoming subject matter eligibility guidance.” See the memorandum here. (Original Sources: IP-Watchdog web site)

DOE Small Business Voucher Pilot

(Update and launch of Round 3)

DOE has announced: its third round of the small business vouchers program. From the web site, “[T]he DOE SBV Pilot provides U.S. small businesses with unparalleled access to the expertise and facilities of its national laboratories. Over three rounds, DOE will provide up to $20M to support ~ 100 small businesses by issuing national lab vouchers valued between $50,000 and $300,000 per company.” (see Dispatch 9-2-16) See AIP blurb here with links to other news items on this subject. Deadline for submissions is Nov. 10 (apologies for the delayed notice, but this topic actually has been highlighted several times in previous Dispatches). (Original Sources: DOE web site, SSTI web site)

Cancer Moonshot Initiative

(Implementation Plan released)

Vice President Biden has issued: an implementation plan to the President to guide the “cancer moonshot” effort announced earlier this year. (see Dispatches 9-2-16 and 10-7-16)   From a post by AIP, “[P]resident Obama announced the initiative during his final State of the Union speech and asked Biden – whose oldest son died of brain cancer in May 2015 – to lead the effort. The report highlights accomplishments of the task force to date and lists planned actions for the upcoming year mapped to five strategic goals: (1) catalyze scientific breakthroughs, (2) unleash the power of data, (3) accelerate bringing new therapies to patients, (4) strengthen prevention and diagnosis, and (5) improve patient access and care.” Among other suggestions, the report encourages more DOE-NIH collaboration in this effort. See the full report here. (Original Sources: AIP web site, White House web site)

DOD Launches New Technology Accelerator

(With a hackathon event)

The Department of Defense has recently launched: the MD5 National Security Technology Accelerator. From the DOD press release, “[MD5], a public-private partnership between the Department of Defense (DoD), New York University (NYU) and a large network of top U.S. research universities, is being officially launched at a hackathon today in Brooklyn, New York [middle of October].  During the inaugural MD5 Hack, technologists from across the country [worked] together with military and civilian first responders, including the New York Fire Department, to create solutions to humanitarian assistance & disaster relief challenges in dense urban environments. Through programs like the hackathon, MD5 aims to educate and build a network of innovators and entrepreneurs equipped with the incentives, expertise, know-how, and resources required to successfully develop, commercialize and apply DOD technology.” (Original Sources: DOD web site)

Efforts to Restart Office of Technology Assessment

Government Executive recently reported: that twenty-one years after being zeroed out of the budget, “a revival movement of sorts persists among lawmakers, their staffs and Washington think tanks [to bring OTA back, albeit in somewhat different form]”. From the article, “[T]he OTA (1972-1995), with its exuberantly loyal staff of 100 who helped Congress address tech questions from a two-floor office in Southeast Washington, at its peak was producing 20 meaty reports a year. … Government Executive was permitted to sit in on a discussion of reviving OTA at which several dozen congressional staff, business and advocacy group representatives gathered … . The upshot? The working group decided a new OTA-like entity is needed [but it would need to be smaller and nimbler than the original].”   Although there are both Democrats and Republicans that have shown support for it – it’s still an uphill battle. As noted in the article, an amendment to an appropriations bill this summer to fund OTA failed by a vote of 223-179. (Original Sources: Government Executive web site)

New From NSF

Number of Postdocs at Federally-Funded Research and Development Centers Rebounds After Several Years of Decline, notes that “[I]n 2015, federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) in the United States employed a total of 2,696 postdoctoral researchers (postdocs). Although this number is lower than the peak of 3,011 reported in 2010, it shows a rebound after two consecutive survey years of decline. FFRDCs serve to meet the research and analytic needs of federal agencies, and their employment of postdocs helps to train the country's next generation of scientists and engineers. In 2015, postdocs were employed by 24 of the 42 FFRDCs listed in the Master Government List of FFRDCs, maintained by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), National Science Foundation (NSF). Two FFRDCs—Lincoln Laboratory and Project Air Force—reported having a new postdoc program for the first time in 2015. …. As in the past decade, more postdocs employed by FFRDCs in 2015 were on temporary visas than were U.S. citizens or permanent residents (1,450 versus 1,246). However, the share of postdocs on temporary visas decreased over time (61.5% in 2005 to 53.8% in 2015). Although the majority of postdocs in FFRDCs were men, the share of women postdocs grew over the past 10 years. Almost one-quarter of the FFRDC postdocs in 2015 were women, compared with 21% in 2005.” (Original Sources: NSF web site)


Note: The DC Dispatch is a periodic update of selected items of interest to the FLC and technology transfer community -- i.e., current legislation, trends, reports, policy and other developments potentially affecting technology transfer or related activities -- designed to keep the community informed of relevant issues on a timely basis. Information is gleaned directly from a variety of sources (newsletters, email alerts, web sites, direct participation at events from the FLC DC Representative’s office, etc.) -- with original sources, contacts and links provided.

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