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