On January 19, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (“DARPA”) issued a new solicitation in the form of a broad agency announcement for the Preventing Emerging Pathogenic Threats—or “PREEMPT”—program. The program will be managed by the DARPA Biological Technologies Office, which generally supports activities that integrate biology, engineering, computer science, physical sciences, and mathematics.

The goal of the program is to support research and development relating to new tools, models, and technologies that are focused on preventing the transition of viral threats from animals to humans. In contrast to recent biodefense efforts that have largely been initiated in response to significant human outbreaks, such as in connection with Ebola, influenza, and Zika, the program targets animal-based viruses that have yet to become an active threat to humans. In addition, consistent with DARPA’s mission, the program targets animal-based viruses that have a potential to impact deployed U.S. military forces, particularly with respect to remote geographic areas associated with prevalent endemic and emerging diseases.


Continue Reading DARPA Targets Animal-Based Viral Threats in Solicitation for PREEMPT Program

On June 16, 2016, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued a proposed rule to implement Section 815 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which was originally enacted in December 2011.  Under the proposed rule, DoD would be given additional flexibility to release technical data or computer software to third parties (including competitors) if the data qualify as “segregation or reintegration” data.  Although the data would include limited-rights data or restricted-rights software, the recipient would be permitted to use the data or software only for segregation or reintegration, and must destroy the data or software at the “completion of authorized activities.”  The rule also permits, among other changes, the DOD to require delivery, without any time limits, of various technical data and software that either have been generated or merely “utilized” in the performance of a contract.  Four years in the making, this proposed rule attempts to implement and clarify statutory changes introduced in section 815 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (the “2012 NDAA”).  Despite the attempt to clarify, the proposed regulations still leave open significant questions for contractors with respect to technical data rights.

Continue Reading DoD Finally Issues Proposed Rule Addressing 2012 NDAA Changes to Technical Data Rights

The U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) recently issued a notice detailing proposed amendments to the policy directives governing the Small Business Innovation Research (“SBIR”) and Small Business Technology Transfer (“STTR”) programs.  The notice indicates that the SBA intends to implement significant changes to the current data rights provided under SBIR/STTR awards, as well as the method by which program participants—or their successors in interest—receive preferences in the third phase of efforts to develop technologies under either program.

The proposed changes open up new possibilities for a company’s competitors to benefit from its participation in the SBIR/STTR programs. However, the changes also provide additional certainty that may encourage increased participation by small research and development companies and investors that are currently unsure as to whether SBIR/STTR awards can effectively be used to commercialize new technologies.


Continue Reading SBA Proposes New Data Rights and Phase III Preferences under SBIR/STTR Awards

On November 7, 2014, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issued an Advanced Notice seeking comments on potential revisions to policies governing the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs, which facilitate the commercialization of technology through small business entrepreneurship.  The Programs require certain federal agencies to reserve a minimum percentage of their budgets to fund research and development activities that have potential commercial applications.  The government’s initial investment under the Programs is relatively minimal, but participants are able to secure increased funding through three successive phases of development, eventually resulting in the commercialization of a technology with non-Program funds.  The Programs encourage sustained development of a technology by requiring that first-, second-, and third-phase awards generally be made to the same concern, and by establishing broad protections for data produced in the performance of an award.  The SBA is specifically seeking comments on potential revisions to its policies with respect to these two key features of the Programs.
Continue Reading SBA Seeks Comments on Third-Phase Awards and Data Rights under the Small Business Innovation Research and Technology Transfer Programs