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Intellectual Property Overview

Copyrights

A copyright is a federal right owned by every author to exclude others from reproducing, adapting, distributing, performing in public or displaying in public a work created by that author. However, works prepared by government employees as part of their official duties are not subject to copyright protection in the United States. See www.copyright.gov or www.cendi.gov for more information. For general guidance on the use of copyrighted materials by DOE employees please see our guidance on Use of Copyrighted Materials by Government Employees. The Office also reviews and prepares speaker release for DOE employees and counsel Departmental elements on non-disclosure agreements. For specific guidance, employees and program offices are encouraged to contact this office.  For additional information on copyrights, please visit the United States Copyright Office website.

Trademarks

This office procures trademarks for program offices and counsels Departmental elements on the proper use of trademarks and when necessary will enforce trademarks that are misused by unauthorized parties.  For additional information on trademarks, please visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office website.

Patents

Under Executive Order 10096, 23 January 1950, as amended by Executive Order 10930, codified in 37 C.F.R. 501  whenever an invention is made by an employee of the Department of Energy (DOE), it is necessary to determine the rights in the invention as between the Government and the DOE employee (i.e., the inventor). The Record of Invention form  and Invention Rights Questionnaire are used for this purpose. They are submitted by DOE employees to the patent attorneys of GC-62, who review the information provided in these documents to make invention rights determinations. After review, a follow-up Invention Rights Determination letter is submitted to the DOE employee from GC-62 regarding the rights of the Government and the DOE employee with respect to the employee’s invention.  For additional information on patents, please visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office website.

Administrative Claims

The Department offers an administrative process for disposing allegations of patent and copyright infringement. Where an outside party believes that DOE, or a DOE contractor operating with DOE’s authorization and consent, is infringing a privately owned patent or copyright, that party may file an administrative claim under 10 C.F.R. Part 782 . Under the DOE administrative claim procedure, a claimant may submit a claim for compensation consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 1498, which DOE will investigate and make a determination on the merits. The administrative claim procedure need not be exhausted, or even used at all, prior to filing a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.