Frequently Asked Questions about Technology Transfer at NSA

1.What is technology transfer? 

2.Why is technology transfer important?

3.When was NSA's TTP established?

4.How does the NSA TTP transfer NSA technology?

5.Who can I contact for more information?

Patents

6.What is a patent?  Why is a patent important?

7.What is a Patent License Agreement?

8.Who would benefit most from a PLA?

9.How can I initiate one?

Agreements

10.What are the different partnership opportunities that the NSA TTP can execute?

11.What is a CRADA?

12.What is an EPA?

13.What is an TTSA?

14.What is an Open Source Software (OSS) release?

15.Where can I find NSA open source releases?


What is technology transfer? 

Technology transfer is the exchange of federally funded knowledge, research, and capabilities between government, academia, and industry to fulfill public and private needs.

Why is technology transfer important?

Technology transfer is important for several reasons:

  • Ensures the best use of taxpayer contributions to federal R&D
  • Pushes inventors to continually create innovative technologies
  • Enables the private sector to gain access to competitive technologies available for commercial use
  • Allows the public to benefit from government-developed technologies through the creation of new jobs and commercial products

An important result of technology transfer is an increase in economic stability and national security—benefits that affect us all.

When was NSA's TTP established?

The NSA TTP began in 1990.

How does the NSA TTP transfer NSA technology?

The NSA TTP enables the transfer of NSA technology through a variety of partnership agreements with businesses, colleges and universities, and other government agencies.

Who can I contact for more information?

You can contact our office at tech_transfer@nsa.gov.

Patents

What is a patent?  Why is a patent important?

A patent assigns exclusive rights to an inventor’s intellectual property for a limited period of time. It’s important to patent to prevent others from profiting or otherwise benefiting from an inventor’s original work. Patents are granted and publicly disclosed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

What is a Patent License Agreement?

A PLA is an agreement that allows businesses to license patented NSA technology for their own use or further development.

Who would benefit most from a PLA?

Small businesses, large corporations, curious investors—anyone who is interested in licensing NSA technologies.

How can I initiate one?

After browsing the Patent Portfolio and developing a marketing plan, contact us at tech_transfer@nsa.gov to discuss your options!

Agreements

What are the different partnership opportunities that the NSA TTP can execute?

The NSA TTP offers the following partnership opportunities: Patent License Agreement (PLA), Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), Education Partnership Agreement (EPA), Technology Transfer Sharing Agreement (TTSA), and Open Source Software (OSS) releases.

What is a CRADA?

A CRADA is an agreement between a federal laboratory and a non-federal party that protects proprietary information during collaborative R&D in any area that is consistent with the federal laboratory’s mission. CRADAs define and formalize interactions and partnerships with private industry.

Most CRADAs are one-on-one partnerships with specifically defined Joint Work Plans. The NSA Technology Transfer Program (TTP) executes all CRADAs for NSA and manages the agreement process.

What is an EPA?

An EPA is an agreement between NSA and an education institution to transfer or enhance technology and provide technology assistance to the institution.  Under an EPA, NSA innovators can provide training and mentoring to personnel in the science and technology fields. NSA may also transfer or donate laboratory equipment to public and private schools as well.

What is a TTSA?       

A TTSA is an agreement that allows NSA to transfer technology to other government agencies while protecting its rights to seek commercialization and to track the transfer of these technologies.

What is an Open Source Software (OSS) release?

OSS releases are unclassified technologies developed by NSA innovators that are available for public use. The collaborative model enables NSA to benefit from the open source community’s feedback and enhancements to the technologies.

Where can I find NSA open source releases?

NSA OSS releases can be found at code.nsa.gov and on Github (github.com/nationalsecurityagency).