How to License ORNL Technologies

We grant licenses to patented inventions and copyright protected software to both existing and startup companies that demonstrate the ability to successfully develop these technologies into successful products and services. Our commercialization managers are ready to assist you in understanding our technology opportunities and in defining license terms that meet your company's needs. 

Technology Identification and Evaluation

The first step in the licensing process is for you to identify technologies of interest to you. As a starting point, you may wish to browse the available technologies or search using keywords and the ORNL InSpire Technology Search Engine. At any point in your search, please feel free to contact the commercialization manager identified for each technology or send an information request to

Once you have identified a technology of interest and contacted our team, we can facilitate technical discussions with our researchers to help you evaluate the opportunity. In some case we will enter into a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) to exchange technical or business information to fully explore the ORNL opportunity and your commercial vision.

License Application

Once you have identified a technology you may wish to commercialize, we will ask you to describe your commercialization plan by completing a confidential License Application. The License Application includes a request for your company's business plan. We use the application and business plan to understand your commercialization plan and your anticipated market opportunity, evaluate your company's readiness to commercialize the licensed technology, and prepare a specific patent and/or copyright portfolio appropriate for your planned products and business model. This information will also assist us in our licensing discussions and will help us to prepare the license agreement that best fits your business needs.

License Application Review

A commercialization manager will review your License Application prior to entering negotiations. In order to negotiate a license, your application and business plan must demonstrate that your company has the expertise and capital needed to further the development of the technology for commercialization. Your application must also demonstrate market knowledge and provide a credible plan to successfully bring the technology to the marketplace.

Term Sheet Negotiation

Once we have reviewed and approved your License Application and your plan to commercialize the technology, we are ready to begin discussing licensing terms. You are encouraged to review the DOE Licensing Guide and Sample License and ORNL’s sample License Agreements with your legal counsel prior to beginning negotiations. You may also want to review the area on Licensing ORNL Technologies to understand some of the unique aspects and requirements of DOE National Laboratory Agreements.

The commercialization manager will review a term sheet based on your input in your License Application and your business plan. Term sheets include financial terms (e.g up-front execution fee, patent cost reimbursement, minimum royalty payments and running royalty payments) as well as a “Commercialization and Development Plan” identifying the development steps and marketing efforts you will take to bring the licensed technology to the marketplace. These terms are described in more detail in the section that provides procedures and guidelines.

License Execution

Once we have agreed upon the license terms, we will draft an executable License Agreement for your review and signature. The license will normally become effective when all parties have signed the License Agreement and any execution fee has been received. Frequently, at our licensees' request, we will host a licensing ceremony to celebrate our Agreement and formally begin our commercial partnership.