National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight CenterGoddard Space Flight Center

Licensing Process

Goddard Licensing Process

License Agreement Steps and Guidelines

NASA owns over a thousand patents and patent applications that protect inventions in hundreds of subject matter categories (search for technologies).

Legal Requirements

NASA has the authority to grant licenses on its domestic and foreign patents and patent applications pursuant to 35 USC §§207-209. NASA follows the regulations set forth in 37 CFR §404.

All NASA licenses are individually negotiated with the prospective licensee, and each license contains terms concerning technology transfer (practical application), license duration, royalties, and periodic reporting.

NASA patent licenses may be exclusive, partially exclusive, or nonexclusive.

How to Apply for a Patent License

The license application process takes place in two stages to minimize the information required and expedite the negotiation process. Note that the guidelines and processes are the same for both patent and copyright license interest. SPO will incorporate all final agreement information into a formal license for signature by both parties.

SPO uses the information listed below to assist in the license negotiation process. All information should be submitted to:

Strategic Partnerships Office
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Code 102
Greenbelt, MD 20771
(301) 286-5810

  1. Provide all information requested in License Application, including:
  • Patent application serial number, patent number, and/or NASA case number of the invention
  • Title of the invention
  • Patent issue date (if applicable)
  • Name of and contact information for the person, company, or organization requesting license
  • Type of license being applied for (i.e., exclusive, partially exclusive, or nonexclusive) and any desired limitations (e.g., field of use, geographic)a
  • Initial offer for royalty rate schedule, upfront fee, yearly minimums, and milestonesb


a. For exclusive and partially exclusive licenses, a notice of a prospective license (identifying the invention and the prospective licensee) is posted in the Federal Register, providing the opportunity for written objections to be filed within a 15-day period.

b. The negotiation of the license fee is an integral part of the entire licensing process and is determined in light of a variety of considerations.

  1. Once the Term Sheet is reviewed and considered to match NASA interests, a Development/Marketing Plan must be submitted. This document provides a detailed description of the applicant’s plan for the invention:
  • Anticipated investment capital and other resources necessary to bring the invention to practical application.
  • Capability and intention to fulfill this plan, including information on manufacturing, marketing, financial, and technical resources.
  • A timeline of key steps or milestones required to bring the invention to practical application.
  • A financial and/or annual report.
  • Attachment A: Pro Forma Income Statement specifically related to the products and services using the subject NASA technology.
  • Attachment B: The previously prepared Term Sheet.
  • Any other information the applicant believes will support the application
  • A recent balance sheet and income statement also are required.