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NASA Program Propels New Business

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

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NASA is offering a one-of-a-kind opportunity to startup companies, giving them a competitive edge to help get their businesses of the ground.

Developed to address the two biggest barriers startups face—raising capital and securing intellectual property rights—the agency’s new Startup NASA program allows new businesses to license patented NASA technology—including coatings and materials—with no up-front fee, the agency announced earlier this month.

Boosting New Businesses

Intending to drive innovation and foster the growth of high-tech businesses, this initiative of the NASA Technology Transfer Program gives companies direct access to NASA’s intellectual property to enhance their fresh ideas.


Startup NASA was developed to help foster high-tech innovations by helping new businesses save money and secure intellectual property rights with access to a portfolio of patented NASA technologies.

"The Startup NASA initiative leverages the results of our cutting-edge research and development so entrepreneurs can take that research—and some risks—to create new products and new services," David Miller, NASA's chief technologist, said in the agency’s statement.

The Startup NASA site links to an online patent portfolio divided into 15 categories and packed with more than 1,200 patented NASA technologies protected by the U.S. government.

Startup companies can make selections from categories that range from aeronautics, environment, instrumentation and manufacturing to mechanical and fluid systems, power generation and storage, sensors and more.

Coatings Innovations

Among the patents available, NASA is offering technologies from its materials and coatings solutions, which address a wide array of technical applications. The agency believes its research and development innovations can find secondary uses in new commercial products.

In the Materials & Coatings portfolio, interested users have access to patented technologies that include:

  • Lubrication/tribological materials;
  • High-temperature polymers;
  • Thermal insulation;
  • Nanomaterials;
  • Composites;
  • Polymide composition;
  • Flame suppression material;
  • Smart coatings for corrosion detection and prevention; and
  • Photocatalystic materials.

Among some of the specific patented technologies available in this area are:

  • Hydrophobic Epoxy Coating for Insect Adhesion Mitigation;
  • Temperature-Sensitive Coating Enables Easy Measurement up to 600°C;
  • A Method for Thermal Spraying of Coatings Using Resonant Pulsed Combustion;
  • Specular Coatings for Composite Structures;
  • Powder Particles for Corrosion Prevention in Rebar;
  • Liquid Coating for Corrosion Prevention in Rebar;
  • High-Performance Polyimide Powder Coatings; and
  • High Temperature Resins.

Licensing the Technology

Once a desired technology is identified, an online application can be filled out and submitted through the website. Companies can either license a technology from or partner with NASA.

NASA Langley/David C. Bowman
NASA Langley / David C. Bowman

Among the patents available, NASA is offering technologies from its materials and coatings solutions, which address a wide array of technical applications.

The license agreement can grant exclusive, partially exclusive or nonexclusive rights to the use of a specific NASA technology.

This Startup NASA announcement applies only to non-exclusive licenses, which means other companies may apply for similar rights to use the technology for commercial purposes. However, NASA will consider further exclusivity if the startup wishes to negotiate.

A partnership agreement includes active participation in the technology transfer process, the site says. This involves helping to co-develop a technology to address a NASA need and participating in a shared-resource project that supports and stimulates advanced research and technology developments.

Rules and Guidelines

According to the Technology Transfer Program page, the patent portfolio is made available to benefit U.S. citizens. Although the license itself is free, the start-up companies must adhere to several guidelines.

The offer is open only to companies formed with the express intent of commercializing the licensed NASA technology.

"No up-front payment" means NASA waives the initial licensing fees, and there are no minimum fees for the first three years.

Once the company starts selling a product, NASA will collect a standard net royalty fee. That money goes first to the inventor and then to maintaining the agency's technology transfer activities and technology advancement.

Companies entering into the license agreement will be bound by all requirements in federal licensing statutes and NASA policies, including development of a commercialization plan and reporting on efforts to achieve practical application.


Tagged categories: Coating Materials; Coatings; Coatings Technology; Government; NASA; New business; North America; Research and development

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