Why is NASA doing this? Because they want to be a resource and partner with start-ups to commercialize their technology. They’re doing this to address two key start-up issues:
- Raising capital
- Getting access to good technology IP
Some of the worlds most famous and successful inventions were created using NASA IP. These include cordless tools such as power drills and vacuum cleaners, CAT scanners, the computer microchip, and freeze-dried foods, home insulation, invisible braces, enriched baby food, the video game joystick, LED lights, memory foam and many others.
NASA’s licensing terms make it easy for a start-up to license the technology. There’s no upfront fee and no royalty payments due for up to three years. The licenses are non exclusive, but they’re open to negotiating exclusivity depending on the situation.
NASA offers a variety of technologies in a number of industries including aeronautics, communications, electronics, environmental, health, and many others. You can view all the different intellectual properties available for licensing at this website, http://technology.nasa.gov/startup.
To qualify, your startup must be in business for less than a year, have less than 50 employees, and secured less than $2 million in funding. The products must be primarily produced in the US. Once you start selling the products, the minimum guarantee requirement is $3,000 per year, and the royalty rate is 4.2% of gross sales.
Intellectual property is the most valuable asset of every startup. Acquiring rights to a valuable technology for no money upfront is a fast track way to launching your start-up. Plus you get the added benefit of NASA, their resources, and a great opportunity to license what could turn out to be the next multi-million or billion-dollar product.