Cooperative Research And Development Agreements (CRADA)


A Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) is an agreement between one or more laboratories and one or more non-federal entities (participant usually include industry, nonprofit organizations, or academia, domestic or foreign). The agreement allows collaboration that may include the laboratory’s technologies, processes, materials, research and development (R&D) capabilities, or technical know-how. The participant benefits from access to the laboratory's unique technologies, capabilities, and expertise; the option to negotiate an exclusive license in a field of use within the scope of work of the CRADA to inventions that result from work performed under the CRADA (subject inventions); and protection, for up to five years, of information generated under the CRADA and marked by the partner as protected. Partners’ proprietary information developed outside of the CRADA and brought into the collaboration is treated with confidentiality without time restriction. To offset costs of the collaboration, CRADA participants must contribute cash or in-kind resources such as personnel, equipment, facilities, etc. As most national laboratories are full cost recovery, a funding source for the laboratory work must be identified before work can start. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) requires either 1) advance payment of the entire amount or 2) a pay plan that requires the first payment to include a 60-day minimum (some require 90) reserve and in some instances funding for the first 30 days of work. DOE has developed a model CRADA that establishes uniform terms and conditions for doing business with the laboratories.

Info Description: A lab and partner outside the federal government collaborate and share the results of a research and development project.
Uses Typical Uses: To develop a new product; To conduct scientific research; Note: New IP developed during a CRADA is subject to U.S. manufacturing requirements
Advantages Advantages: Pool resources and knowledge; Lab and private entity can own their own inventions developed under the CRADA
Coin Cost: Shared or paid by partner
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Ins and Outs of Agreements & Licenses

CRADAs, SPPs, and ACT arrangements can be contracted to contain provisions addressing protection of a partner’s proprietary data. User Agreements often include such provisions as well. In addition, Nondisclosure Agreements (NDA) can easily be put in place to protect a partner’s proprietary information prior to the initiation of any work or even at the discussion stage if necessary. While a company’s proprietary information agreement template can be used as a starting point the nature and contractual requirements of the national laboratories will require amendments and the use of the standard agreement offered by the laboratory of interest often expedites the signature of these agreements. Data generated in the performance of a CRADA can be protected from public release by the laboratory or the Government for five years. It is important that companies mark all of the information that they provide to the laboratories’ staff in accordance with the agreements between the parties for protection of data. Data generated under an SPP or ACT can be kept proprietary by the Sponsor indefinitely in many cases.
Retention of these rights in agreements involving federally-funded research is required by law. The government license is viewed as recognition of the Government investment that created the facility and the research from which the technology arises. March-in rights are retained by the government to assure that technology arising from laboratories is made available to the public. Should a laboratory licensee or CRADA partner abandon use or dissemination of the technology yet retain a license to the technology, the government has the right to require the partner to license to a third party, who is interested in commercializing the technology, at a reasonable royalty.
There are examples of successful multi-party collaborations that accommodated the interests of various organizations, including multiple DOE laboratories. Clear communications and up-front negotiations of intellectual property rights can help save time. For example, in the alternative feedstocks for chemicals program, five laboratories set up agreements for sharing intellectual property among themselves and with a company. The intellectual property developed by one laboratory was used by other laboratories, and the company benefited from inventions at several laboratories.
Although as federally-funded facilities, DOE’s national laboratories have a preference to license to U.S. companies and an obligation to consider U.S. Competiveness in all license agreements. The requirement for U.S. Competiveness can be satisfied by either substantially manufacturing in the United States or by having a business unit in the United States and providing a significant economic and technical benefit to the United States. All DOE Laboratories are also required to include an export control clause in their license agreement. This clause simply states that the Licensee agrees to comply with export control laws designed to protect items and information important to the United States. It restates the existing requirement and does not impose additional requirements.

Additional Ways to Partner with a National Lab