Licensing Overview

Licensing Sandia Innovations

Sandia has more than 1,700 patents and nearly 500 commercially available copyrights

Sandia National Laboratories is mandated by the Department of Energy to move its technology to the marketplace for the benefit of the U.S. economy. Given the Labs’ national security focus, government is the primary customer for many Sandia licensees though technologies may also find use in the industrial and consumer markets. Sandia issues licenses to companies ranging in size from startups to multinational organizations.

Intellectual Property Creation at Sandia

Sandia’s intellectual property results primarily from R&D conducted for the government in the national security sector. We collaborate with industry, leveraging each other’s strengths to develop innovative technology. We perform internal R&D directed at the most challenging issues in national security, for which breakthroughs would provide exceptional value to government and industry.

Licensing Sandia’s Intellectual Property

Sandia’s intellectual property may be licensed for commercial use (internal or commercial sale), test and evaluation, or execution of a government contract. One may also secure an option on a future license. Example licenses include:

Commercial Patent

Grants rights to make and use a Sandia invention claimed in a patent or patent application to a commercial entity

Commercial Copyright

Grants rights to use or distribute Sandia copyrightable materials (software, design works) to a commercial entity

Commercial Hybrid

Grants rights to make and use a combination of Sandia IP (patents and copyrights) to a commercial entity

Test & Evaluation

Gives rights to Sandia for IP for short term test and evaluation or non-commercial research

License Option

Grants a time-limited right to obtain a full commercial license agreement

Government Use

Transfers Sandia IP to federal agencies and federal government contractors

Our qualification procedure considers a company’s ability to bring a product to market as conveyed by their business plan, among other factors. The possibility to create a new company that can leverage our technology and achieve substantial growth is also important, given our interest in entrepreneurship. Sandia works with organizations to help entrepreneurs secure funding to bring our technologies to market.

Licensing Practices

  • License term usually runs the length of the patent or copyright. Terms for Test and Evaluation licenses and License Options are limited in time.
  • Financial consideration may include an upfront license fee, annual license fee, milestone fee, running royalty, or company equity, as appropriate. We seek an equitable return to the laboratory without impeding the licensee’s ability to successfully commercialize the technology.
  • Performance requirements may be established to ensure the licensee is diligent in their commercialization plan.
  • Licenses may be limited by field of use or region. Non-exclusive licenses are customary, but Sandia does consider licenses with periods of restraint. Licenses with periods of restraint are considered based on business case and a competitive assessment of potential licensees. Licenses with periods of restraint also have more stringent performance requirements.
  • Commercial licensees must substantially manufacture their product in the U.S., given the Department of Energy’s intent to provide benefit to the U.S. economy.
  • The U.S. government retains a right to use the technology for government purposes.