Triangle Startups Can Access NASA’s Patent Portfolio With New Startup License

Triangle startups can take advantage of a special deal to license NASA patents.

Patents can be a life-saver for new startups trying to get their technology off the ground and lock down investment. Luckily for Triangle area startups, NASA’s Technology Transfer Expansion Program (T2X) is offering a patent portfolio that could benefit North Carolina companies. 

Patent licensing is available to the public for both companies that want to enhance current products or create new ones. Whether looking for technology in the areas of IT, aerospace, environment, biotechnology, manufacturing, optics, robotics, sensors and more, T2X has you covered.

Jesse Midgett, Technology Transfer specialist at the NASA Langley Research Center, said that NASA’s patents have traditionally helped medium and large companies adopting new technologies into their business models. Now they are now also looking for earlier-stage companies to help in the process of creating businesses and jobs.

Interested companies can go here to apply for a license and find out more information. The NASA portfolio has around 450 patents, Midgett said.

While many think only of NASA’s missions in space, NASA is also invested in making an impact here on Earth.

“If you think about NASA’s missions, most people would think about going to Mars and exploring, looking for life everywhere, and why we do those missions is to benefit humanity and benefit the nation,” Midgett said. “What Tech Transfer does is allow us to kind of get ahead of that and start looking for ways that we can benefit humanity now.”

NASA’s T2X has specifically expressed an interest in entrepreneurs from the Triangle who will be able to use their patents to grow as a business and offer innovative products.

“Without a doubt, the Research Triangle area is the best place to create a startup, and you have a ton of resources for individuals that want to start a business,” Midgett said. “So if we’re going to focus our efforts to find startup companies, this is the place to do it.”

Licenses are available at different levels, whether at the evaluation level or the commercial license included in selling products or services. Recently, the NASA T2X Program has added a startup license, which is free for three years with no upfront fees.

“We’re trying to bring in entrepreneurs rather than the traditional model of finding an established company to adopt technology and turn into a product or service,” Midgett said.

NASA isn’t patenting at the rate that they used to, Midgett said, with much of their current and in-development technology more esoteric and space-related and not as commercially suited as its existing patent portfolio. That makes this a beneficial time for entrepreneurs to look through their options in the portfolio as it stands today.

“We’re kind of on the tail end of the heyday of NASA patents,” Midgett said. “And if you wanted to tap into that as a business, there are more offerings now than there will be in the future, in my personal estimation.”

About Suzanne Blake 153 Articles
Suzanne profiles startups and innovation for GrepBeat. She is also a junior studying journalism and political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Reach Suzanne at suzanne@grepbeat.com.