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NEWS | April 7, 2021

NSWC Crane Tech Transfer Office Receives Awards from FLC, OSD for Rapid Response Licensing Program

By NSWC Crane Corporate Communications

CRANE, Ind. – Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division’s (NSWC Crane) Technology Transfer (T2) Office is receiving two awards from the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) and one from the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The team earned the COVID-19 Response Award and Technology Transfer Innovation Award from the FLC and the T2 Advocate of the Quarter Award from OSD. All three awards were for their work on the Rapid Response Licensing Program (RRLP).

 “Being recognized by the FLC and Department of Defense (DOD) is to be recognized as the best of the best. It’s incredibly humbling,” Jenna Dix, NSWC Crane T2 Director. “This award is our opportunity to highlight Crane and the great work that happens on the business side of the house. It shows how well-rounded we are as an organization – technical and business leaders.”

According to the award criteria, winners of the FLC COVID-19 Response award needed to demonstrate T2 efforts in response to the pandemic that “have resulted in a significant and tangible societal benefit, ranging from the local to global scale.”  The FLC’s Innovation Award is given to laboratories that significantly increase their T2 activities through the successful implementation of innovative new methods, including internal and/or external programs or new tools and mechanisms. The OSD T2 Advocate of the Quarter Award “recognizes outstanding Technology Transfer efforts that further the mission of the Department of Defense.”

 “These awards showcase all the amazing efforts by our scientists, engineers, and inventors,” said Annie Bullock-Yoder, NSWC Crane Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Specialist. “Without them, we would not have a thriving T2 program! They have been remarkably supportive of the RRLP-- from the inception, when we asked about concerns they might have with us offering royalty-free licenses, and continuing throughout the entire initiative by engaging with interested businesses and being an integral part of the licensing process.”

The NSWC Crane T2 Team developed the RRLP, a special licensing program designed to rapidly transition federal research and development into the commercial sector to aid in the fight against the pandemic and stimulate the economy. With the guidance of the NSWC Crane Legal Office and the knowledge and expertise of national PIA partner, TechLink, the licensing program was thoroughly planned and defined prior to offering it to the public.

Under the RRLP, NSWC Crane offered an 18-month non‐exclusive license on any patent for applications to combat the coronavirus pandemic and a one-year non-exclusive license on any patent for any commercial application, without any up-front fee or royalty payments. To make it even easier on prospective licensees, NSWC Crane developed streamlined standard language for the license agreement and Commercial Development Plan. These efforts ensured rapid access to laboratory technologies for U.S. businesses and entrepreneurs and decreased license processing time for the lab.

“In just seven months, the program resulted in a local start-up pitch competition, expanded support to DoD accelerator and entrepreneurship programs, and led to an 80% increase in new licenses,” said Bullock-Yoder. “We are thrilled at the current success and the benefits it has had for our community.” 

Most notably, NSWC Crane transferred a fever detection system to Greene County General Hospital to screen incoming patients and staff. The technology allowed for more social distancing for screening staff, which avoids staff quarantine due to coronavirus exposure and limits interruption to normal hospital operations.

“Through the RRLP, we have been able to simultaneously address two seemingly opposing forces - the dynamic between commercial activity to support economic growth and increased health and safety precautions for the community,” said Dix.

Crane team members for the FLC Technology Transfer Innovation Award were Dix, Bullock-Yoder, and NSWC Crane Patent Attorney Eric VanWiltenburg. Team members from Techlink were also awarded - Associate Director Austin Leach and Senior Technology Manager and Software Licensing Lead Sean Patten.

“Our program wouldn’t be what it is today without the partnership with Techlink and our strong relationship with Crane’s legal team,” said Dix. “Techlink provides a perspective on T2 that we don’t get from anyone else – they know the DoD, and they know the market. Ideating with them about new ways to commercialize technology is invaluable. And our legal team is an absolute ‘must’ for having an effective T2 program. They help us formulate innovative ideas for doing business and offer expertise critical to our success.”

The team will officially receive the FLC awards on Thursday, April 8 during a virtual event. Dix and Bullock will also virtually present for the DOD Innovator Spotlight Series on April 20 to highlight the RRLP.

About NSWC Crane

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter.

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