Patent Licensing

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory is authorized to license its intellectual property to private industry and other entities. Licenses are a means of achieving wider use of inventions created by DEVCOM ARL scientists. Once a patent application has been filed for an invention, that invention can be licensed for commercial development and use.

This Patent License Agreement (PLA) may be non-exclusive, partially exclusive or exclusive. Regardless of the type of license negotiated, the government retains its rights to use an invention and to grant nonexclusive research licenses. Royalties are negotiated on a case-by-case basis, and take many factors into account, such as market size, exclusivity, or whether additional technology development is needed. The laboratory may provide technical assistance on a reimbursable basis, if needed to further develop the technology.


PLAs are authorized by 15 U.S.C. 3710a. The governing regulation is AR 70-57, Military-Civilian Technology Transfer, dated 26 February 2004.

When a PLA is Appropriate

A PLA is appropriate to use when a company or other entity desires to license a patent or patent application for commercialization or research purposes. There are three types of licenses that may be negotiated:

  • An exclusive license restricts the use of an invention to a single licensee.
  • A partially exclusive license allows multiple licensees, but restricts the use of the invention by any single licensee to a particular geographic area or to a particular use.
  • A nonexclusive license can be issued to any number of licensees.

Who May Participate?

  • Private corporations (U.S. or foreign)
  • Nonprofit and not-for-profit institutions (U.S. or foreign)
  • State and local governments (U.S.)