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Part 3: Department Of Energy -
             Laboratory Focus
             Laboratory Portfolios

Technology Transfer for the DOE Laboratories has been under the purview of independent offices at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) since 1988. Although these offices manage most Laboratory inventions, OTT oversees a small portfolio of inventions disclosed prior to 1988 and some more recent cases, such as those having co-inventors from the UC campuses. Because technology transfer activities are carried out differently at the DOE offices as compared with OTT and the campuses, activity and financial information for these groups is reported separately. Information provided on this page pertains to the activities of the technology transfer offices of the Laboratories, whereas the information on the next page reports on Laboratory cases managed at OTT.

Invention Reporting

In FY96, the three DOE Laboratories generated 354 invention disclosures. The following are examples of current inventions:

Focused Ion Beam Micromilling of High-Density Read-Only Memory (LANL): Most media used today for archival storage are easily destroyed and do not have the data densities necessary to store terabytes or petabytes of data. Microfilm, optical disks, and magnetic tapes are all prone to failure through abrasion, material degradation, breakage, electromagnetic pulses, atmospheric or chemical contamination, and high temperatures. LANL scientists have overcome these limitations by developing high-density read-only memory (HD-ROM) which is produced by a focused ion beam micromill inside a vacuum chamber. The ion beam etches bits of data into hard, robust materials, such as stainless steel or iridium, at a data density of 1 terabyte/inch2 —about 10,000 times the density of plastic CD-ROMs. HD-ROM products are unbreakable and impervious to the effects of heat, magnetism, radiation, chemicals, and even fire. Consequently, HD-ROM is estimated to have a life span of over 5,000 years, ten times that of microfilm stored under perfect conditions. The technology has been licensed to a Santa Fe company that has begun developing HD-ROM technology and is seeking a permanent facility in Northern New Mexico where 300 people could be employed.

UV Waterworks Disinfection of Drinking Water for Developing Countries (LBNL): Two out of every three people in the world must fetch drinking water from outside their homes, putting them at risk from such waterborne diseases as cholera, typhoid fever, gastroenteritis, dysentery, and infectious hepatitis. Current methods used to disinfect drinking water in developing countries— boiling over a cookstove, or addition of chlorine—are inconvenient, inefficient, time consuming, and/or expensive. LBNL researchers have developed a device that uses ultraviolet light to disinfect water for as little as 1.5 cents per metric ton of water. The new device is compatible with existing water supply infrastructures in the vast majority of developing countries. It can disinfect up to 15 liters of water per minute, is compact, lightweight, extremely durable, simple to operate, requires almost no maintenance, and can easily be used in rural areas with intermittent or limited electricity supplies and hand operated water pumps. LBNL has exclusively licensed UV Waterworks worldwide (except in India) to a startup company founded with the goal of implementing this and other life-saving technologies in developing countries.

Six Degrees of Freedom Sensor (LLNL): LLNL researchers have developed a small, noncontact optical sensor that will improve manufacturing processes that employ robots by eliminating the time-consuming and expensive process of “teaching” robotic machinery new motions when manufacturing changes are required. The sensor can be mounted on the tool head of a multi-axis robot manipulator to track reflective reference points attached to the part. Once the robot knows where it is relative to the part, a computer can instruct the robot to follow a path predescribed in multidimensional computer drawings of the part. Compared to its nearest competitor, the Six Degrees of Freedom sensor is four times smaller and five times lighter, costs one-sixth as much and is 250 times faster and up to 25 times more accurate. Marketing of this technology has begun recently.

Patenting and Licensing

In FY96, the Laboratories filed a total of 227 new patent applications. Whereas OTT and campus offices contract with attorneys at outside law firms for all of their patent prosecution activity, the Laboratories manage most US patent filings internally through their own legal departments and contract out only for selected matters, particularly foreign prosecution.

All licensing activity is done on behalf of the University. The licensing function is managed within the context of larger departments responsible for fostering a variety of partnerships with industry: LBNL’s Technology Transfer Department, LLNL’s Industrial Partnerships and Commercialization Department, and LANL’s Industrial Partnership Office. These departments also focus resources toward negotiation of Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) with industry.

In FY96, the Laboratories completed a total of 41 new options and licenses for patentable inventions and tangible research products (TRPs). Licensing of other types of intellectual property (e.g., copyrighted software) represent a significant additional element of current licensing activity.

Financial Results

The DOE Laboratories generated a total of $1.5 million in income during FY96, up from $1.3 million in FY95. Most of the FY96 increase was attributable to large fees and royalties received from multiple licensees of LLNL’s micropower-impulse radar (MIR) technology.

Information on DOE patenting and licensing expenses is not provided in this report. Patent expenses are budgeted separately as allowable costs under the University’s current contract with DOE and are not readily separable from other expenses of the legal departments. Similarly, operating expenses of the licensing function are not readily separable from other expenses of the technology transfer departments. Finally, income generated by the DOE Laboratories is not subject to a State share assessment.

Inventor share payments of $484,000 included $48,000 paid to authors of software. These payments were based on financial activity through September 30, 1996 for LANL and LBNL and through September 30, 1995 for LLNL.

FINANCIAL ACTIVITY: DOE LABORATORY OFFICES
Year Ended September 30, 1996
(Thousands)


 LBNL LLNL LANL  TOTAL
Income from Royalties &Fees
    Patents and TRPs
    Copyrights/Software
        Total

Inventor Shares Paid

$113
    12
$125

$ 34

$1,059
      60
$1,119

$ 355

$187
    72
$259

$ 95

$1,359
     144
$1,503

$ 484


Fiscal Year Comparisons

FY95 FY96 % Change
    Patents and TRPs
    Copyrights/Software
        Total

Inventor Shares Paid
$1,190
    88
$1,278

$ 492
$1,359
     144
$1,503

$ 484
14%
64%
18%

-2%

PATENTING AND LICENSING ACTIVITY: DOE LABORATORY OFFICES
Year Ended September 30, 1996
(Thousands)


 LBNL LLNL LANL  TOTAL
Disclosure and Prosecution*
    Inventions Reported
    US Applications Filed
        First Filings
        Secondary Filings
            Total

    US Patents Issued
    First Foreign Filings

Marketing and Licensing
    UC Elections & Waiver Requests
    New Agreements Issued
        Secrecy
        Option
        License
    Total Active Agreements
        Option
        License

56

30
  7
37

17
3


37

92
3
3

9
16

219

82
15
97

82
28


151

266
0
18

1
52

79

82
11
93

34
22


102

376
6
11

13
34

354

194
    33
227

133
53


290

734
9
32

23
102


Fiscal Year Comparisons

FY95 FY96 % Change
Disclosure and Prosecution*
    Inventions
    US Applications Filed
        First Filings
        Secondary Filings
            Total

    US Patents Issued
    First Foreign Filings

Marketing and Licensing
    UC Elections & Waiver Requests
    New Agreements Issued
        Secrecy
        Option
        License
    Total Active Agreements
        Option
        License

393

175
  58
233

139
18


280

879
10
39

17
76

354

194
  33
227

133
53


290

734
9
32

23
102

-10%

11%
-43%
-3%

-4%
194%


4%

-16%
-10%
-18%

35%
34%

* Data reflects patent prosecution initiated on behalf of either DOE or the University.
** Although patent prosecution may be initiated on behalf of DOE or the University, the University seeks to obtain title, by election or waiver request, to only those Laboratory inventions that are identified as having licensing potential.

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