Embracing the Department of Energy's 'America's Next Top Energy Innovator' Challenge: Brookhaven Lab Promotes Licensing its Technologies to Start-ups

Copan and Brakel enlarge

Brookhaven Lab's Walter Copan and Christine Brakel review the Lab's technologies that are available for licensing.

UPTON, NY — Today the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory will join a DOE program designed to reduce the upfront costs and paperwork requirements for start-up companies to obtain an option to license available patented technologies from the Laboratory’s patent portfolio. Part of the Obama Administration’s Startup America Initiative, the DOE program, called the “Next Top Energy Innovator” challenge, aims to double the number of startup companies coming out of national laboratories.

Under this pilot program, which will remain in effect until December 15, 2011, Brookhaven Lab will reduce the upfront cost of options to license available patents to U.S. start-up companies to $1,000 — a fraction of the usual cost. The agreement will give the company a six-month option to obtain an exclusive license to the technology for a specified field of use. To obtain such an option, the company must submit a business plan that clearly shows how it intends to develop and market the technology. The plan may include research collaborations with Brookhaven scientists to advance the technology. At the conclusion of the option period, which may be extended for an additional six months, the company can negotiate a commercial license agreement, including appropriate terms such as equity and royalties.

“We expect that this new program will expand an awareness of the rich portfolio of business opportunities available at DOE labs, including Brookhaven,” said Walter Copan, manager of Brookhaven Lab’s Office of Technology Commercialization and Partnerships. “We believe the program will increase the number of successful companies and create new jobs that our nation needs — particularly clean energy jobs.”

Brookhaven Lab created a streamlined start-up option agreement template for entrepreneurs. Potential participants will have until December 15, 2011 to submit their option request and business plans to the Laboratory’s Office of Technology Commercialization and Partnerships. Entrepreneurs who complete the requirements for licensing energy technologies and show progress toward executing their business plan and commercializing the technology will have the opportunity to be showcased at the 2012 ARPA-E Energy Information Summit, which brings together leading technology startups and clean energy investors from around the nation.

For Brookhaven Lab technologies that are available for licensing under the new program, go to: http://www.bnl.gov/tcp/IntellectualProperty/Startup%20America.asp.

The technologies are in the fields of energy and environment, to electronics and instrumentation, materials chemistry and nanotechnology, to biotechnology and health care. They range from low-cost materials for solar cells, to electrocatalysts for fuel cells that make possible efficient-energy applications, and thermoelectric materials that can convert waste heat to energy.

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