Federal law on inventions made with federal support

First, the brief version:

Specialty statutes for specific federal purposes control federal claims of ownership of inventions made under federal contract.

The Nixon patent policy as amended by Reagan’s executive order otherwise controls federal claims of ownership of inventions made under federal contract.

Bayh-Dole preempts the specialty statutes and the Nixon policy (i) when a federal contractor owns an invention:

Because a federal contractor obtains assignment;

–or–

Because a federal contractor makes inventors become federal contractors who own their inventions.

and (ii) for all research or development contracts, requiring at least government license and the right to march-in.

Reagan’s executive order requires federal agencies to follow something almost like Bayh-Dole unless a specialty statute requires otherwise.

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