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Frequently Asked Questions about ACT:

Q1: What is ACT (Agreement for Commercializing Technology)?
A1: ACT is a pilot program under which businesses may partner with participating DOE laboratories for research and development that commercializes technology.
Q2: Why is this pilot being introduced?
A2: ACT is being piloted to address concerns about difficulties in partnering with the DOE laboratories that were raised in public responses to a DOE Request for Information on improving technology transfer. These concerns include requirements for advance payments, indemnification and government use rights in intellectual property.
Q3: Who can partner with the laboratories under ACT?
A3: ACT is available to a full range of sponsors, including start-ups, small and large businesses that provide private funding to sponsor research.
Q4: Are all the DOE laboratories participating?
A4: No. We will be launching a multi-year pilot program with participation at a limited number of DOE laboratories. A complete list of laboratories participating in the pilot is expected to be released in January.
Q5: Is ACT available at other Federal Agencies?
A5: No, this is a contractual agreement based on specific DOE statutory authorities.

Q6: Will companies continue to be able to work with the national laboratories under CRADAs (Cooperative Research and Development Agreements) and WFO (Work for Others)?
A6: Absolutely, ACT will add to the existing contractual mechanisms already available for partnering with DOE laboratories.
Q7: How is ACT different from CRADAs and Work for Others?
A7: ACT authorizes participating Contractors operating DOE laboratories to partner with businesses using terms that are better aligned with industry practice. These Contractors are authorized to take on risk that the U.S. Government cannot assume. ACT also provides a more flexible framework for negotiation of intellectual property (IP) rights to facilitate moving technology from the laboratory to the marketplace, and facilitates the participation of national laboratories in groups formed to address complex technological challenges.
Q8: Will the company automatically receive the IP in ACT?
A8: Not necessarily, the company and the laboratory Contractor have the opportunity to negotiate who will take the IP lead as owner, based on what is needed to move the technology to market. IP ownership by a sponsoring company remains available through Work for Others Agreements.
Q9: How is IP treated differently in ACT versus the other agreements?
A9: Under CRADAs, the IP is owned by the party that invented it, whether that is the laboratory, the company or both jointly. The company may then license any inventions the laboratory creates during the CRADA research and development.

Under WFO agreements, the sponsoring company generally is given the option of owning the IP created at the laboratory, subject to the right of the government to use it – a "government use license." Under ACT, for many types of technology, the government will have the option to retain a more narrow license to use the IP only for research purposes.
Q10: When will the pilot start?
A10: An announcement of the laboratories selected to participate in the pilot will be made in early 2012.
Q11: How long will the pilot last?
A11: The initial pilot is scheduled to last for multiple years during which we will be collecting information on its output and impacts, and using this data and information to evaluate its success.