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Patents

The Forest Service Patent Program provides guidance to agency scientists on all aspects of intellectual property protection. The Program’s emphases are provisional application filing and seeking a development partner and/or extensive marketing prior to a decision to file the non-provisional patent.

The program goals are to file provisional patent applications and involve the inventing scientist in finding a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) partner prior to filing a utility patent. This process includes working with the USDA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

Reducing the technology-to-practice timeline through a CRADA greatly increases the opportunity for successful development. The Patent Program conducts prior art searches to evaluate the patentability and prepares all needed paperwork for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The Patent Program also oversees contract law firms that draft utility patent applications (applications are filed by USDA Office of General Counsel), and files and prosecutes applications in the Patent Office.

Draft patent licenses are prepared by the Forest Service Patent Program and signed by the Agriculture Research Service Office of Technology Transfer. Forest Service commercial licenses are royalty-based only with a priority toward making the technology available for internal Forest Service management use along with industry support.

Patent & Licensing Program

The Forest Service Patent & Licensing Program supports and manages the following areas:

Pre-Invention Activities

  • Helps researchers to determine best technology transfer method e.g. agreements, patents (both Provisional and Non-Provisional application), and publications
  • Performs patent and literature (prior art) searches
  • Reviews all Forest Service invention disclosures - both solely and jointly owned
  • Prepares all document needed for the application

Patent Prosecution Activities

  • Guides Forest Service inventors through the patent process, filing and prosecution
  • Serves as a liaison between Forest Service inventors, contract law firms and the United States Patent and Trademark Office
  • Works with the USDA OGC to prepare, file and prosecution of patent applications
  • Verifies ownership and prepares declaration, application data sheet, information disclosure document and assignment documents

Licensing & Marketing Activities

  • Works with scientist to Find appropriate partner/approach to transfer Forest Service patented technology for the benefit of the National Forest System
  • Assists with Cooperative Research and Development Agreements and other Technology Transfer Agreements to further develop technologies
  • Negotiates and prepares licenses between Forest Service, universities, and/or industry

Additional Intellectual Property Activities

  • Provides trademark assistance
  • Handles copyright issues
  • Deals with software questions
  • Helps with technology transfer ethics

For more information, contact Tom Moreland, Forest Service Technology Transfer Coordinator

https://www.fs.usda.gov/research/products/dataandtools/patents