The Grant Doctors 365

The Grant Doctors 365 / 090520

Title to intangible property (e.g., intellectual property) vests with grant recipients—similar to the rules for tangible property purchased with federal grants (i.e., real property, equipment and supplies). Grantees are eligible to copyright, trademark and patent their work created under a federal award. Keep in mind, though, the federal government retains “a royalty-free, nonexclusive and irrevocable right to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use the work for federal purposes, and to authorize others to do so.”

If you want to create a proprietary resource to sell or to license, do not use federal grant funds to finance its development. Use your organization’s unrestricted funds. Once you develop something with federal dollars, it essentially becomes open source material; the feds can use it themselves or they can give it away to other organizations pursuing work similar to yours.