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LANL opens access to tech, patents

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Business owners looking for a competitive edge, or those who may be on the verge of making that critical breakthrough and need just one more piece of the puzzle to make it happen, the Los Alamos National Laboratory may have an app for that… or a perhaps a patent.

A seminar, hosted by the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce detailed how business owners can get LANL’s latest innovations in patents and software quickly, and for relatively low expense. The seminar featured officials from LANL’s Express Licensing Program, A new program LANL implemented in August in response to the federal government’s request throughout to make it easier for the private sector to utilize the latest tech coming out of the nation’s national laboratories. 

The speakers at the seminar included the program’s commercial licensing manager, Laura Barber and Kathleen McDonald, the program’s software manager. 

Together, they explained how business owners can quickly start the process of accessing the latest software and patents LANL has to offer, often with just a few clicks of a mouse. 

They said the total time from request to acquisition averages three to five days -- no matter if you’re looking for a patent or software. So far, the site has about 80 patents and 30 software packages on the site, which can be accessed at techportal.eere.energy.gov/widget/energy_technologies

Barber said LANL was able to accomplish the quick turnaround time by cutting out much of the paperwork and red tape. 

“One of the primary findings of the report was to encourage the adoption of expeditious standard terms for doing business between government, the national labs and the private sector,” she said. “That’s really what express licensing does for us. “These are basically pre-determined, pre-established, non-negotiable terms that we’re offering. The goal is to make it easy for companies to quickly access our technologies.”

For example, available patents can be had for a one-time license fee of $7,500, along with an annual $500 license fee. LANL also includes a 2 percent royalty fee from the sales of products or services leveraging the patent. 

For software, the fees vary, but many are free. One of the more publicized software examples is LANL’s “KIVA” technology, a software system that was developed by LANL in response to the energy crisis of the 70’s. Many companies, including Cummins Diesel and Hyundai, use the software to optimize diesel engines for maximum efficiency.

“It’s a cool thing to see technology evolve into something relevant this many years later,” McDonald said. “I think that’s where you see so much valuable technology come out of the federal lab system, because there’s a consistent investment in technology and abilities over a period of time, and as needs shift, we can respond.”

So far, Barber said, the program has been a success, and they have plans to release even more products on the website in the future. 

“We’ve arrived at the point of having this out there and to see companies already taking advantage of it is really great,” she said. “Not just having it out there but now having the option of gaining access, that’s a good thing.”

A seminar attendee from “New Urban Design and Development” remarked that he liked the direction LANL was headed.

“It’s nice to see the updated programs and the streamlined processes and technologies they are ready to get out the door,” he said.

For information about patents, contact Laura Barber at ljbb@lanl.gov or by phone at 667-9266. For more information about software, contact Kathleen McDonald at kathleen_m@lanl.gov or by calling 667-5844.