Department of Energy Announces “America’s Next Top Energy Innovator” Challenge

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American entrepreneurs and innovators can soon take advantage of reduced upfront costs and paperwork requirements for licensing groundbreaking technologies developed by the U.S. federal laboratories. Announced Tuesday by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the “America’s Next Top Energy Innovator ” challenge will lower hurdles to commercializing innovation to support a core component of the Obama administration’s national innovation strategy that aims to double the number of start-up companies coming out of the work done at the laboratories.

For the challenge, the Department of Energy (DOE) will offer online access from May 2 through December 15, 2011 to a streamlined option agreement allowing companies to identify a technology of interest and submit a business plan for consideration. For start ups short on the resources, time, or expertise to negotiate individual licensing agreements, the program’s simplified licensing process and standard set of terms are a unique opportunity. The DOE estimates that dropping the licensing fees to $1,000 will help save companies $10,000 to $50,000 in upfront fees alone.

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