Legislation

Mar 13 2014

S. 2129

Official Short: Accelerating Technology Transfer to Advance Innovation for the Nation Act of 2014; ATTAIN Act of 2014

Long Title: To amend the Department of Energy Organization Act to improve technology transfer at the Department of Energy by reducing bureaucratic barriers to industry, entrepreneurs, and small businesses, as well as ensure that public investments in research and development generate the greatest return on investment for taxpayers, and for other purposes.

Sponsors: Mr. Udall (NM)

STATUS:

  • March 13, 2014.--Introduced.

S.2129

ATTAIN Act of 2014 (Introduced in Senate - IS)

S 2129 IS

113th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. 2129

To amend the Department of Energy Organization Act to improve technology transfer at the Department of Energy by reducing bureaucratic barriers to industry, entrepreneurs, and small businesses, as well as ensure that public investments in research and development generate the greatest return on investment for taxpayers, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
March 13, 2014

Mr. UDALL of New Mexico introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


A BILL

To amend the Department of Energy Organization Act to improve technology transfer at the Department of Energy by reducing bureaucratic barriers to industry, entrepreneurs, and small businesses, as well as ensure that public investments in research and development generate the greatest return on investment for taxpayers, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Accelerating Technology Transfer to Advance Innovation for the Nation Act of 2014' or the `ATTAIN Act of 2014'.

SEC. 2. OFFICE OF ADVANCED RESEARCH, TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER, AND INNOVATION IN ENERGY.

    Title II of the Department of Energy Organization Act (42 U.S.C. 7131 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`SEC. 218. OFFICE OF ADVANCED RESEARCH, TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER, AND INNOVATION IN ENERGY.

    `(a) In General- There is established an Office of Advanced Research, Technology Transfer, and Innovation in Energy (referred to in this section as the `Office'), based in Washington, DC, and under the direction of the Technology Transfer Coordinator appointed under section 1001(a) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16391(a)), to improve the consolidation, coordination, and use of technology transfer resources of the Department.
    `(b) Duties- The Office shall--
      `(1) improve procurement, contracting, and partnership procedures for technology transfer through--
        `(A) within the Department and National Laboratories, the innovative use of existing mechanisms (such as cooperative research and development agreements) and the development of new mechanisms (such as Agreements for Commercializing Technology, technology investment agreements, and other transaction authority) to improve the ability of the Department and National Laboratories to procure, contract, and partner with industry and business to implement technology transfer activities;
        `(B) the streamlining and improvement of the review and approval process at all levels, for existing and future technology transfer agreements (including cooperative research and development agreements) and the use of best practices and process performance improvement evaluation to reduce the time required to enable the technology transfer activities of the Department and National Laboratories to engage and cooperate with industry and business at the speed of opportunity; and
        `(C) in connection with other Federal agencies, other actions that improve the operational efficiency and technology transfer effectiveness of the Department;
      `(2) improve the sharing and coordination of technology transfer information and resources through actions such as the establishment of a single website that can be used for technology transfer within the Department;
      `(3) establish and administer T2-Corps in accordance with section 219;
      `(4) administer the technology transfer investment initiative in accordance with section 220;
      `(5) improve the effectiveness of small business innovation research programs and small business technology transfer programs by--
        `(A) strategically aligning topics areas in requests for proposals to compliment research and development capabilities at the National Laboratories and funding opportunity announcements offered by Department programs through better identification of technology readiness levels or commercialization readiness levels to enable small business success; and
        `(B) increasing coordination and use of small business innovation research programs and small business technology transfer programs across the Department and National Laboratories to connect large research and development investments to a strong and well-organized commercialization plan;
      `(6) establish and administer an industry and business technology transfer working group that--
        `(A) parallels and complements the efforts of the National Laboratory technology working group;
        `(B) shall convene regularly to make recommendations to the Department and National Laboratories for use to assess capabilities and implement improvements regarding--
          `(i) priorities for commercialization;
          `(ii) the assessment of technology targets;
          `(iii) the evaluation of the impact of technology transfer activities; and
          `(iv) implementation of technology transfer activities; and
        `(C) shall carry out technology transfer peer reviews that are similar to professional peer reviews conducted by other agencies of the Department, to evaluate the progress and impact of the technology transfer programs and activities of the Department and the National Nuclear Security Administration;
      `(7) encourage the use of alternative data rights provisions by improving procurements language to enable the Department and National Laboratories to work with third parties with whom the Department and National Laboratories have issued a subcontract, to enable--
        `(A) the third party to have full title, limited title, or partial use of any software or data authored by the Department or National Laboratories, if necessary and applicable; and
        `(B) each relevant group to coordinate and cooperate more effectively;
      `(8) enable a platform or resource that allows existing prenegotiated and express licensing programs to expand intellectual property bundling agreements to encourage university, foundation, nonprofit, and industry partners to present licensable intellectual property (along with the Department and National Laboratories) within a common database, with--
        `(A) the database administered by the Department and database content available to the T2-Corps teams, the Department, and the National Laboratories; and
        `(B) the goal of the cooperation being to create an effective process that enhances opportunities for technology transfer and commercialization by--
          `(i) encouraging and leveraging research and development funds dedicated to complementary projects;
          `(ii) facilitating streamlined licensing negotiations;
          `(iii) encouraging cost-effective intellectual property management and fulfilling equal opportunity;
          `(iv) minimizing potential for conflicts in a manner that increases the access of participants in T2-Corps to scientists and engineers of National Laboratories; and
          `(v) increasing the accessibility of licensable technology across larger numbers of licensees;
      `(9) coordinate with the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) of the Department--
        `(A) to maximize the impact of technology transfer opportunities and activities; and
        `(B) to implement strategic changes that are mutually beneficial to the Office and those Programs;
      `(10) carry out technology transfer evaluations, measurement, and reporting functions of the Department;
      `(11) conduct an annual evaluation of the progress and impact of the Office that--
        `(A) is conducted through--
          `(i) the working group established under paragraph (6); and
          `(ii) technology transfer peer reviews that are similar to professional peer reviews conducted by other agencies of the Department;
        `(B) includes information relating to the economic and technology transfer impact of technology transfer programs, which shall be evaluated based on--
          `(i) the types of employment opportunities created, based on North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) employment data;
          `(ii) the aggregate amount of follow-on investment;
          `(iii) the start-up survival and growth rate;
          `(iv) Department and National Laboratory transactional efficiency for different phases of licensing cooperative research and development agreements and other technology transfer-related processes;
          `(v) the effectiveness of local and regional partnerships; and
          `(vi) other key metrics determined by the Secretary and the National Nuclear Security Administration;
        `(C) to the maximum extent practicable, uses random sampling, retroactive data, and other justifiable evaluation methodologies to control the cost and scope of the evaluations and the collection and analysis of data relevant to the metrics described in this paragraph; and
        `(D) provides for--
          `(i) the continuous monitoring of the fairness and opportunities in the administration of this paragraph; and
          `(ii) an evaluation of--
            `(I) accessibility; and
            `(II) expectations and limitations relating to employee conflict of interest;
      `(12) through the working group established under paragraph (6) (in consultation with the Secretary and the Technology Transfer Working Group established under section 1001(d) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16391(d))), subject to subsection (c), collect data regarding the technology transfer activities and programs of the Department;
      `(13) submit the report described in paragraph (10) to Congress and incorporate the findings of that report in the performance evaluation and management plans of each of the National Laboratories;
      `(14) consolidate resources and reduce bureaucratic barriers within the Department and become the office responsible for the coordination, planning, monitoring, and implementation of sections 1001, 1002, 1003, and 1004 of title X of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16391, 16392, 16393, 16394), to assist the Department and National Laboratories in carrying out technology transfer and small business activities;
      `(15) administer the Technology Commercialization Fund established under section 1001(e) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16391(e)), including--
        `(A) the development of a multiyear plan for the use of the Fund;
        `(B) the use of the Fund to carry out the duties of the Office;
        `(C) the coordination with other agencies of the Department on the use of the Fund; and
        `(D) the submission to Congress of an annual report that describes use of the Fund during the preceding year;
      `(16) except as otherwise provided in this Act, carry out the research, development, demonstration, and commercial application programs, projects, and activities authorized by this Act in accordance with--
        `(A) the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.);
        `(B) the Federal Nonnuclear Energy Research and Development Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C. 5901 et seq.);
        `(C) the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (42 U.S.C. 13201 et seq.);
        `(D) the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (15 U.S.C. 3701 et seq.);
        `(E) chapter 18 of title 35, United States Code (commonly known as the `Bayh-Dole Act'); and
        `(F) any other Act under which the Secretary is authorized to carry out the programs, projects, and activities; and
      `(17) perform such other duties as are determined appropriate by the Secretary.
    `(c) Protection of Information- The following types of information collected by the Department or National Laboratories from recipients of financial assistance awards or technology transfer partners (including parties to cooperative research and development agreements or other similar agreements) shall be considered privileged and confidential and shall not be subject to disclosure under section 552 of title 5, United States Code:
      `(1) Plans for commercialization of technologies developed under an award or agreement, including business plans, technology-to-market plans, market studies, and cost and performance models.
      `(2) Specific investments provided to the recipient of an award or party to an agreement from third parties (such as venture capital firms, hedge funds, and private equity firms), including the amount of the investment and the percentage of ownership of the award provided in return for the investment, unless the disclosure is made in an aggregate form that provides anonymity.
      `(3) Additional financial support that the recipient of an award or party to an agreement--
        `(A) plans to or has invested into the technology developed under the award or agreement; or
        `(B) is seeking from third parties.
      `(4) Revenue from the licensing or sale of new products or services resulting from research conducted under the award or agreement, unless the disclosure is made in an aggregate form that provides anonymity.
    `(d) Results of Evaluation and Analysis-
      `(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall use the reviews, evaluations, and reports conducted under this section to improve and enhance--
        `(A) the technology transfer programs and activities of the Department; and
        `(B) the technology transfer offices of the National Laboratories and the National Nuclear Security Administration to promote the technology transfer goals of the Department.
      `(2) NATIONAL LABORATORIES-
        `(A) IN GENERAL- The Department shall work with each National Laboratory to incorporate the evaluation and impact of technology transfer activities in the annual performance evaluation and measurement plan of the National Laboratory to enable significant progress to be rewarded and limited progress to be improved annually.
        `(B) ADMINISTRATION- The evaluation process under this paragraph shall--
          `(i) focus on the performance of each National Laboratory individually; and
          `(ii) compare the performance of each National Laboratory during the applicable and previous year.
    `(e) Technology Transfer Offices-
      `(1) IN GENERAL- Each National Laboratory shall establish or maintain, as applicable, a technology transfer office for the Office.
      `(2) COORDINATION- The Office shall connect and coordinate the technology transfer offices established under this subsection.
      `(3) DUTIES- Each technology transfer office shall serve as the regional implementation office for the technology transfer programs of the Department, including technology commercialization, entrepreneurship, and business development.'.

SEC. 3. T 2 -CORPS.

    Title II of the Department of Energy Organization Act (42 U.S.C. 7131 et seq.) (as amended by section 2) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`SEC. 219. T 2 -CORPS.

    `(a) Establishment-
      `(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall establish a T2-Corps, modeled after the I-Corps of the National Science Foundation, to support investments in entrepreneurs, mentors, and principal investigators.
      `(2) GOALS- The goal of the T2-Corps is to invest in technology maturation, market assessment, and increasing industry and small business access to intellectual property and core capabilities of the Department and National Laboratories.
    `(b) Teams-
      `(1) IN GENERAL- The Office of Advanced Research, Technology Transfer, and Innovation in Energy (including technology transfer offices of the Office) (referred to in this section as the `Office') shall establish teams composed of--
        `(A) entrepreneurs who possess relevant technical knowledge and a commitment to investigate the commercial applications of technology innovation;
        `(B) mentors who are experienced entrepreneurs, with technology, marketing, commercialization, or other relevant expertise to assist teams in the development of the team and throughout the learning process in a manner similar to the Senior Corps; and
        `(C) principal investigators who serve as technical lead and project managers.
      `(2) COMPETITIVE PROCESS- Each team shall be selected and assembled through a competitive process.
      `(3) TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER OFFICE-
        `(A) IN GENERAL- Each team shall be hosted by a technology transfer office.
        `(B) DUTIES- The technology transfer office shall monitor and administer participation in the program in accordance with this section.
      `(4) DIVERSITY- The Secretary shall ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, the diversity of teams established under this subsection.
    `(c) Technology Commercialization Challenges-
      `(1) IN GENERAL- The Office may establish and participate in technology commercialization challenges.
      `(2) ADMINISTRATION- The Office may use a technology commercialization challenge--
        `(A) to leverage the core strengths of a National Laboratory and allow the National Laboratory to focus on a specific topic; and
        `(B) to create collaborative public-private partnerships that address challenges identified by the industry or National Laboratory technology transfer working groups.
        `(C) SMALL ENTERPRISES- The Secretary and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration shall ensure that at least 80 percent of the businesses participating in the T2-Corps are smaller enterprises (as defined by the Administrator) that are located in diverse regional geographic areas established under section 220(e)(4).
    `(d) Coordination-
      `(1) IN GENERAL- The Office shall work with National Laboratory technology transfer offices--
        `(A) to develop information sharing and coordinate resources to enable coordination and competition between members of T2-Corps teams, including a coordination platform that leverage existing elements of social media and networking to connect individuals and teams in the exchange of information and ideas; and
        `(B) to connect follow on-funding and other resources with successful start-ups through actions such as--
          `(i) inviting successful teams or projects to participate in an alumni network to reinvest in the next generation of start-ups; and
          `(ii) arranging opportunities for successful start-ups to connect with programs that are not administered by the Department or the Small Business Administration to promote the growth of business.
      `(2) NONPROFIT ENTITIES-
        `(A) IN GENERAL- The Office shall partner with foundations and nonprofit entities with similar technology transfer and entrepreneurship priorities and goals to assist in carrying out this section.
        `(B) ACTIVITIES- The partnerships may be established to carry out--
          `(i) coordination, planning, and volunteer activities that do not involve the transfer of funding between partners; or
          `(ii) competitively solicited partnership agreements--
            `(I) to enable foundations and nonprofit entities to apply for funding to assist in carrying out Department activities; or
            `(II) to provide funding to augment existing Department activities relating specifically to common technology transfer and entrepreneurship priorities and goals.
    `(e) Funding- The Office may use to carry out this section--
      `(1) funding made available to carry out--
        `(A) the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 631 et seq.); or
        `(B) section 1001 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16391); and
      `(2) any other funds that are made available to carry out this section.'.

SEC. 4. TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER INVESTMENT INITIATIVE.

    Title II of the Department of Energy Organization Act (42 U.S.C. 7131 et seq.) (as amended by section 3) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`SEC. 220. TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER INVESTMENT INITIATIVE.

    `(a) In General- The Secretary and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration (referred to in this section as the `Administrator') shall jointly establish and carry out a Technology Transfer Investment Initiative (referred to in this section as the `Initiative').
    `(b) Partnership- To carry out the Initiative, the Secretary shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Administrator to coordinate a partnership program carried out by--
      `(1) the Office of Advanced Research, Technology Transfer, and Innovation established by section 218; and
      `(2) the Small Business Investment Company (referred to in this section as `SBIC') Program of the Small Business Administration.
    `(c) Goal- The goal of the partnership program shall be to leverage the strengths of the SBIC program to benefit the T2-Corps teams completing the Department program.
    `(d) Technology Transfer Investment Initiative-
      `(1) SELECTION- The Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary, shall solicit SBIC participation in the technology transfer investment initiative of the Small Business Administration and the Department.
      `(2) PARTICIPATION- A SBIC that agrees or is selected to participate in technology transfer investment initiative shall--
        `(A) regularly review proposals created by T2-Corps teams for possible investment;
        `(B) assess each proposal against the criteria established by the SBIC; and
        `(C) comply with all provisions of law applicable to the Small Business Administration (including regulations).
      `(3) REGIONAL GEOGRAPHIC AREAS-
        `(A) IN GENERAL- The Office established under section 218 (including National Laboratory technology transfer offices), in coordination with T2-Corps established under section 219, shall establish and coordinate regional geographic areas to carry out the Initiative.
        `(B) LEVERAGE- The Office (including National Laboratory technology transfer offices) and SBICs shall leverage, to the maximum extent practicable, the experience and expertise of local, State, and regional partners to efficiency and effectively implement the Initiative.'.