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Statement by the President: H.R. 209, the Technology Transfer Commercialization Act of 2000 (11/01/00)

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                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                    November 1, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     Today I signed into law H.R. 209, the "Technology Transfer
Commercialization Act of 2000."

     In 1986, the Congress passed the Federal Technology Transfer Act
(FTTA).  That Act built upon the basic premise of the earlier
Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act and the Bayh-Dole Act, namely,
that Federal laboratories create technologies that businesses may desire to
develop commercially as a source of competitive advantage.  The FTTA
established new partnering policies for Government laboratories in the
earliest stages of research through mechanisms such as the Cooperative
Research and Development Agreements (CRADA).  Since that time, American
taxpayers have seen how Government-owned innovations can be brought into
the marketplace to create consumer products, thereby improving our quality
of life and enhancing our international competitiveness.

     The Act will help ensure that the benefits of Federal research
translate into new products and opportunities for the American public.  It
simplifies the process of licensing Government-owned inventions to the
private sector by allowing the licensing of preexisting inventions that
arise under CRADAs so that the private sector partner has access to the
relevant technology.  The Act also authorizes Federal agencies to acquire
rights in related privately owned inventions, so as to create a more
effective portfolio for licensing.

     The Act will remove procedural obstacles to technology transfer and
directs agencies to consider the increasingly international environment of
innovation.  It recognizes that, in many cases, the necessary period for
notice by a Federal agency of its intent to grant exclusive licenses can be
shortened using both traditional and electronic means for providing the
notice.  In making decisions about appropriate notice periods, Federal
agencies must continue to balance the need for promptness against the
fundamental statutory purpose of ensuring that these inventions are used in
a way that benefits the public.  I expect that individual agencies will use
their discretion responsibly in setting the period for comment on proposed
exclusive licenses and will bear in mind that the 15-day period provided in
this Act is a minimum requirement that may not be appropriate in all

     I fully support the effort, under the policy leadership of the
Department of Commerce, to improve the transfer of valuable technology from
Federal laboratories to the private sector.

                         WILLIAM J. CLINTON

    November 1, 2000.

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