45 FR 30814, May 9, 1980, unless otherwise noted.
As used in this part, the term Government employee means any officer or employee, civilian or military, except such part-time employees or part-time consultants as may be excluded therefrom by a determination made in writing by the head of the employee's office or constituent organization, pursuant to an exemption approved by the Commissioner of Patents that to include him or them would be impracticable or inequitable, given the reasons therefor. A person shall not be considered to be a part-time employee or part-time consultant for this purpose unless the terms of his employment contemplate that he shall work for less than the minimum number of hours per day, or less than a minimum number of days per week, or less than the minimum number of weeks per year, regularly required of full-time employees of his class.
Every Department employee is required to report to the Secretary in accordance with the procedures established therefor, every invention made by him (whether or not jointly with others) which bears any relation to his official duties or which was made in whole or in any part during working hours, or with any contribution of Government facilities, equipment, material, funds, or information, or of time or services of other Government employees on official duty.
The determination of the ownership of the domestic right, title, and interest in and to an invention which is or may be patentable, made by a Government employee while under the administrative jurisdiction of the Department, will be made in writing by the Secretary in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order 10096 and Government-wide regulations issued thereunder by the Commissioner of Patents as follows:
(a) The Government as represented by the Secretary shall obtain the entire domestic right, title and interest in and to all inventions made by any Government employee
(1) during working hours, or
(2) with a contribution by the Government of facilities, equipment, materials, funds, or information, or of time or services of other Government employees on official duty, or
(3) which bear a direct relation to or are made in consequence of the official duties of the inventor.
(b) In any case where the contribution of the Government, as measured by any one or more of the criteria set forth in paragraph (a) of this section, to the invention is insufficient equitably to justify a requirement of assignment to the Government of the entire domestic right, title and interest in and to such invention, or in any case where the Government has insufficient interest in an invention to obtain the entire domestic right, title, and interest therein (although the Government could obtain same under paragraph (a) of this section), the Department, subject to the approval of the Commissioner, shall leave title to such invention in the employee, subject, however, to the reservation to the Government of a nonexclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license in the invention with power to grant licenses for all governmental purposes, such reservation to appear, where practicable, in any patent, domestic or foreign, which may issue on such invention.
(c) In applying the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, to the facts and circumstances relating to the making of any particular invention, it shall be presumed that an invention made by an employee who is employed or assigned
(1) to invent or improve or perfect any art, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter,
(2) to conduct or perform research, development work, or both,
(3) to supervise, direct, coordinate, or review Government financed or conducted research, development work, or both, or
(4) to act in a liaison capacity among governmental or nongovernmental agencies or individuals engaged in such work, falls within the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section, and it shall be presumed that any invention made by any other employee falls within the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section. Either presumption may be rebutted by a showing of the facts and circumstances and shall not preclude a determination that these facts and circumstances justify leaving the entire right, title and interest in and to the invention in the Government employee, subject to law.
(d) In any case wherein the Government neither
(1) obtains the entire domestic right, title and interest in and to an invention pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section, nor
(2) reserves a nonexclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license in the invention, with power to grant licenses for all governmental purposes, pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section, the Government shall leave the entire right, title and interest in and to the invention in the Government employee, subject to law.
In any case where it is determined that all domestic rights should be assigned to the Government, it shall further be determined, pursuant to Executive Order 9865 and Government-wide regulations issued thereunder, that the Government shall reserve an option to require the assignment of such rights in all or in any specified foreign countries. In case where the inventor is not required to assign the patent rights in any foreign country or countries to the Government or the Government fails to exercise its option within such period of time as may be provided by regulations issued by the Commissioner of Patents, any application for a patent which may be filed in such country or countries by the inventor or his assignee shall nevertheless be subject to a nonexclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to the Government for all governmental purposes, including the power to issue sublicenses for use in behalf of the Government and/or in furtherance of the foreign policies of the Government.
The employee-inventor shall be notified in writing of the Department's determination of the rights to his invention and of his right of appeal, if any. Notice need not be given if the employee stated in writing that he would agree to the determination of ownership which was in fact made.
An employee who is aggrieved by a determination of the Department may appeal to the Commissioner of Patents, pursuant to section 4(d) of Executive Order 10096, as amended by Executive Order 10930, and regulations issued thereunder, by filing a written appeal with the Commissioner, in duplicate, and a copy of the appeal with the Secretary within 30 days (or such longer period as the Commissioner may, for good cause, fix in any case) after receiving written notice of such determination.