Intellectual Property Handbook
Please note: The official source of the content on this page is VHA HANDBOOK 1200.18.
a. Once intellectual property has been disclosed and reviewed by OGC and a determination has been made to retain ownership of an invention, the VA patent process begins. Under 35 U.S.C. §207, VA is authorized to apply for, obtain and maintain patents or other forms of protection in the U.S. and in foreign countries on inventions in which VA owns a right, title or interest.
NOTE: Any invention owned by the Government under
the criteria set forth in 37 CFR §501.6 needs to be protected by
an application for a domestic patent and other necessary documents executed
by the employee inventor prepared by or through the General Counsel, Deputy
General Counsel, or the Assistant General Counsel for Professional Staff
Group IV. Authority: 38 CFR §1.654.
b. VA may elect to use outside counsel (or other means to be identified), if it is determined appropriate. All VA-owned inventions not covered by CTAAs must receive centralized patenting support arranged and coordinated through the TTP. This support includes handling patent applications, provisional patents, patent filings, follow-up requests for information concerning pending patent applications, international filings where applicable, and other necessary actions. NOTE: These services are provided at no cost to the facility or investigator.
c. If it is determined that the employee inventor is entitled to full ownership under 37 CFR §501.6, subject to a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license in the Government, it is the duty of the employee inventor to notify OGC of the status of the patent application, including the patent application number so that VA may protect interests reserved to the Government. Authority:38 CFR §1.655.
LOSS OF PATENT RIGHTS: Premature Disclosure
Premature disclosure occurs when pertinent information about an invention is released into the public domain before a provisional or patent application has been filed. Inventors must take extreme care not to disclose information that would enable someone skilled in the technology to which the invention pertains to make and/or use the invention. Public disclosure could include talks, lectures, poster presentations, newspaper or newsletter interviews, all publications, public use, sale, or offer to sale of the invention. Disclosure of any information prior to filing appropriate paperwork with the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) voids all international patent rights. Domestic US patent rights are voided if appropriate paperwork is not filed with the PTO within one year of disclosure of pertinent invention information.
a. Section 105 of the United States (U.S.) Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code) provides that copyright protection is not available for any "work of the United States Government" defined under the Copyright Act as a work prepared by an employee of the United States Government as part of that person's official duties (17 U.S.C. § 101). Consequently, works such as instructional materials prepared exclusively by VA employees as part of their official duties are not copyrightable, but are placed into the public domain. Section 105, however, permits the U.S. Government to receive and hold copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.
b. Works prepared for the U.S. Government under a U.S. Government contract or grant may be copyrighted by the contractor or grantee unless the U.S. Government provides in the contract or grant that copyright is prohibited or, in a written instrument signed by the parties, that the U.S. Government owns all of the rights comprised in the copyright. It is U.S. Government policy to:
(1) Recognize that the owner of a copyright has a legally enforceable property right in the copyrighted work, and
(2) Obtain or procure a proper license or permission to use copyrighted works.