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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

453.1 - Inventions by Employees


OPR: Director's Office

1. Purpose. This chapter establishes policy and procedures for reporting inventions developed by USGS employees and processing associated patent applications. The basic policy governing inventions is contained in Executive Orders 10096 and 10930. Departmental policy and procedures are set forth in 453 DM 1.

2. Policy. Department regulations require the reporting of any invention made by an employee of the USGS. Inventions must be reported to the Office of the Solicitor prior to their publication or other release to the public.

3. Responsibilities.

A. The Chief, Technology Transfer Office is responsible for monitoring and coordinating Geological Survey patent activities, and is the Survey liaison to the Office of the Solicitor on patent matters.

B. The Chiefs of Divisions/Offices and Supervisors are responsible for reviewing the invention reports for completeness, compliance with current regulations and rendering assistance, as required by the employee inventor, in the preparation and processing of these reports. Their review of the invention needs to include a written recommendation to the Technology Transfer Office to proceed with the patent application process. A recommendation to seek a patent signifies that the Division is willing to invest in the patent process and support the invention.

C. The Employee (Inventor) is responsible for preparing an original and three (3) copies of the Report of Invention (Form DI-1215) and other supporting forms, e.g., Form DI-1218 (Invention Rights Questionnaire) in accordance with current regulations for submission to his/her immediate supervisor.

4. Procedures.

A. Preparation and Processing.

(1) Background information and procedures for the preparation and processing of invention reports within the Department of the Interior (DOI) are set forth in DOI Pamphlet "An Aid to Understanding Patents and Procedures of the Department of the Interior," 1984. Invention report packages are transmitted through Division/Office channels to the Chief, Technology Transfer Office for review and evaluation prior to submission to the Solicitor.

(2) Upon receipt of the invention report package in the Technology Transfer Office, a technical evaluation of the invention will be performed including a report recommending pursuit of a patent or dissemination of the invention to the public without seeking a patent. The invention report and evaluation are reviewed by the Business Enterprise Council and a decision made as to proceed or not to proceed to seek a patent. If it is decided to seek a patent, a copy of the invention report is submitted to the Division of General Law, Office of the Solicitor, for recording. A Patent Attorney, under the supervision of the Technology Transfer Office, conducts a patent search to ensure that the invention is original. If the search confirms that an original invention seems probable, a patent application is submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Department of Commerce, through the Office of the Solicitor. If the search confirms that the invention is not original, the pursuit of a patent will cease.

(3) If the Patent and Trademark Office determines that the invention is in keeping with U.S. patent laws, a patent will be issued; otherwise, a patent will be denied.

B. Awards. A $500 award will be made to each employee-inventor when the Bureau Personnel Officer is informed by the Office of the Solicitor that a patent application has been submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. An additional $800 is awarded to each employee-inventor when a patent is issued.

C. Assistance in the preparation of invention reports may be obtained from the applicable Administrative Officer or from the Technology Transfer Office, USGS MS 104, National Center, Reston, VA 20192.

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