This is interesting. The link is to a Federal Register notice where NASA gives notice of its intent to grant an exclusive license for an invention for a multi-Gb/s laser communications terminal for mini-spacecraft. The notice provides interested persons 15 days to object:
The prospective exclusive license may be granted unless, within fifteen (15) days from the date of this published notice, NASA receives written objections including evidence and argument that establish that the grant of the license would not be consistent with the requirements regarding the licensing of federally owned inventions as set forth in the Bayh-Dole Act and implementing regulations. Competing applications completed and received by NASA within fifteen (15) days of the date of this published notice will also be treated as objections to the grant of the contemplated exclusive license.
There are a couple of interesting points. The first is that NASA says it won’t make any objections public, and that “to the extent permitted by law,” it won’t release the objections under the Freedom of Information Act. Potential objectors should bear in mind that FOIA is a federal statute, and that any grounds for withholding an objection from public disclosure would have to fall within one of FOIA’s enumerated exemptions.
The second interesting point is more frivolous and may be mostly interesting to me. When I wrote my bourgeois, legal science fiction novel, The Sky Suspended, the plot turned on a patent and the federal licensing of an interstellar star drive created by one company but licensed to its competitor. I based the novel’s plot on this statute, specifically paragraph (f) of 42 U.S.C. 2457, but the NASA notice is grounded in this one, 35 U.S.C. 207. Readers of the novel might point out that I clearly didn’t know about this objection process. They would be right, but I would explain that the book is alternate future history, somewhat like Michael Flynn’s books.
Anyway, anyone who wants to object to the exclusive license or file his or her own application has 15 days in which to do so.
UPDATE on May 8: Here’s something similar from the Department of the Navy, offering to license assigned patents.