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NASA offers its patents to start-ups for free

Unlike big technology companies, fighting each other over patents, when most of them never even reach production stage, NASA has decided to give its patents to start-ups, for free.

There is a catch, however.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has more than 1,200 patents in its catalogue, and it's giving it away to start-ups, without requiring an upfront fee. This is formally known as Technology Transfer Program, an initiative designed to address two common problems start-ups usually face – the lack of money and the lack of intellectual property.

However, once the product reaches the shelves, NASA will collect loyalty fees.

"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," said David Miller, Nasa's chief technologist.

To make things even easier for start-ups, NASA has split its patents into 15 groups, so that they can be found faster. The Agency is also offering guidance by its technical personnel, as well as its facilities, if need be.

Unfortunately, if you’re living outside the States, you won’t be able to take advantage of this offer.

According to a report by the IB Times (opens in new tab), the initiative is open only to US-based startups "formed with the express intent of commercialising the licensed Nasa technology". Besides, while the agency will waive off the initial licensing fee for use of its technologies, it will, however, collect royalty fees once the startups begin selling their products.

Sead Fadilpašić
Sead Fadilpašić

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.