The Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) was created after Congress passed the Federal Technology Transfer Act (FTTA) in 1986 (P.L. 99-502). This Act requires each Federal laboratory to establish an Office of Research and Technology Applications (ORTA). OTT was created to perform the legally mandated ORTA functions for ARS, and was also delegated authority to administer the patent and licensing program for all intramural research conducted by USDA. The ARS technology transfer program has centralized policy and approval procedures that are managed by OTT. One-on-one customer service is provided to intramural researchers through Technology Transfer Coordinators (TTCs) stationed in the ARS Area Offices. The TTCs report directly to their regional Area Director.
OTT’s activities are organized into four sections located at ARS headquarters in Beltsville, MD. The Administrative Section conducts day-to-day operations, coordinates technology transfer policy development, and executes Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), patents, and licenses. The Partnership Section coordinates the development of partnerships through formally agreements with the public and /or private sector. The Patent Section provides strategic guidance to scientists regarding patent protection for their research results. The Section is also responsible for receiving invention reports, convening three National Patent Committees (Mechanical and Measurement, Life Sciences, and Chemistry), preparing and prosecuting patent applications, and reviewing patent legal work performed by cooperator and ARS contract law firms. The Licensing Section manages all aspects of USDA invention licensing, including the review of license applications, the negotiation of license agreements, and the monitoring of license agreements to assure compliance with agreement terms. Licensing Program staff collect and disburse license revenues, manage international patent filings, and provide expert advice on all matters related to USDA invention licensing.
The Forming Partnerships with the Agricultural Research Service brochure provides ready information about ARS capabilities and ways to form partnerships.
ARS's Office of Technology Transfer helps move ARS research discoveries to the marketplace. We have a proven reputation for partnerships leading to commercial success. Our agency has formed more than 1,000 government and industry partnerships. We have also entered into more than 200 active license agreements with businesses.