U.S. Code, Title 15, Commerce and Trade

Author: "U.S. Congress, Office of the Law Revision Counsel"

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§ 3710d. Employee Activities

(a) In general

     If a Federal agency which has ownership of or the right of ownership to an invention made by a Federal employee does not intend to file for a patent application or otherwise to promote commercialization of such invention, the agency shall allow the inventor, if the inventor is a Government employee or former employee who made the invention during the course of employment with the Government, to obtain or retain title to the invention (subject to reservation by the Government of a nonexclusive, nontransferrable, irrevocable, paid-up license to practice the invention or have the invention practiced throughout the world by or on behalf of the Government). In addition, the agency may condition the inventor’s right to title on the timely filing of a patent application in cases when the Government determines that it has or may have a need to practice the invention.

(b) "Special Government employees" defined

     For purposes of this section, Federal employees include "special Government employees" as defined in section 202 of title 18.

(c) Relationship to other laws

     Nothing in this section is intended to limit or diminish existing authorities of any agency.

(Pub. L. 96–480, § 15, as added and renumbered § 14, Pub. L. 99–502, §§ 8, 9(e)(1), Oct. 20, 1986, 100 Stat. 1794, 1797; renumbered § 15, Pub. L. 100–418, title V, § 5122(a)(1), Aug. 23, 1988, 102 Stat. 1438; amended Pub. L. 104–113, § 6, Mar. 7, 1996, 110 Stat. 779.)


     1996—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 104–113 substituted "ownership of or the right of ownership to an invention made by a Federal employee" for "the right of ownership to an invention under this chapter" and inserted "obtain or" before "retain title to the invention".

Section Referred to in Other Sections

     This section is referred to in section 3708 of this title.