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Agreements and Licensing

Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) allow for joint research and development performed by NETL and other participants. Background intellectual property (IP) protection is included for the parties and CRADA-developed IP is addressed. A CRADA offers participants the option for an exclusive license in a particular field of use for IP developed by NETL. Cost sharing between NETL and the CRADA participant is essential.

Contributed Funds Agreements (CFAs) allow a participant to provide funds to NETL for a specific scope of work to be completed. At the end of the project, NETL will report research findings back to the participant. Any IP generated will be owned by the government.

Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) OR Memorandums of Agreement (MOAs) are written agreements between NETL and other entities that outline collaboration between the parties. An MOU or MOA is not considered a binding contract. It cannot be used to obligate or commit funds or be used as the basis for the transfer of funds between the parties. Actual implementation of the understandings established by the MOU or MOA must be accomplished through a legally binding agreement, such as an Interagency Agreement, CRADA, or other appropriate agreement between the parties.


Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) are sometimes referred to as confidentiality agreements and are used when NETL and/or another party wish to exchange information that is either considered potentially patentable by NETL or proprietary by the other party. NETL is bound to maintain information received in the course of business confidential by the Trade Secrets Act (18 USC Sec. 1905). Therefore, an NDA is not required for Federal employees to receive proprietary information from other organizations. However, NETL will enter into an NDA that encompasses the Trade Secrets Act. NDAs may be unilateral or bilateral, depending on the circumstances. NETL only executes its own NDAs.

Non-Analysis Agreements (NAAs) allow for a party to share its patented technology with another party for a pre-negotiated purpose, such as testing or further research. The receiving party agrees not to analyze the technology to determine composition, use the technology for commercial purposes, or transfer the technology to a third party.

Licenses transfer government-owned IP to the private sector. NETL licenses to partners who have a commercialization plan with a high probability for technology commercialization and for sharing the benefits of the IP with the public.