America's Next Top Energy Innovator


"Challenge for U.S. to win global race for clean energy jobs of the future. Energy Secretary Chu calls for U.S. entrepreneurs to create new businesses based on discoveries made by national laboratories."

Energy Secretary Chu announces the "America's Next Top Energy Innovator" challenge to give start-up companies the opportunity to use and license revolutionary technology developed by national laboratories for $1,000.

"Today, we're challenging America's entrepreneurs to create new businesses based on discoveries made by our world-leading national laboratories. Because we've cut upfront fees and reduced paperwork," says Chu, "we'll make it easier for start-up companies to succeed and create the new jobs our economy needs. Our goal is simple—unleash America's innovation machine and win the global race for the clean energy jobs of the future."

Details are as follows:
  • On May 2, 2011, the DOE will kick off the challenge by posting a streamlined template option agreement online for entrepreneurs to submit to laboratories. By December 15, participants must identify the technology of interest and submit a business plan.
  • The 15,000 unlicensed patents and patent applications will be available for licensing by startups.
  • From May 2 to December 15, the DOE will reduce the total upfront cost of licensing DOE patents in a specific technology to a $1,000 upfront fee for portfolios of up to three patents (a savings of $10,000–$50,000).
  • License terms like equity and royalties will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis and, typically, will be due once the company achieves wide-scale commercial success.
  • The DOE will simplify the licensing process and establish a standard set of terms for startups. This will significantly reduce both the time and cost required to process the license, allowing faster access to patents and enabling DOE to process more licenses in less time.
Entrepreneurs who complete the process and demonstrate progress toward executing their business plans and commercializing the technologies will be showcased at the 3rd Annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in 2012.

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