SBIR PD 2002
Policy Directive - Section 8
Terms of Agreement Under SBIR Awards

8. Terms of Agreement Under SBIR Awards

(a) Proprietary Information Contained in Proposals. The standardized SBIR Program solicitation will include provisions requiring the confidential treatment of any proprietary information to the extent permitted by law. Agencies will discourage SBCs from submitting information considered proprietary unless the information is deemed essential for proper evaluation of the proposal. The solicitation will require that all proprietary information be identified clearly and marked with a prescribed legend. Agencies may elect to require SBCs to limit proprietary information to that essential to the proposal and to have such information submitted on a separate page or pages keyed to the text. The Government, except for proposal review purposes, protects all proprietary information, regardless of type, submitted in a contract proposal or grant application for a funding agreement under the SBIR Program, from disclosure.

(b) Rights in Data Developed Under SBIR Funding Agreement. The Act provides for ``retention by an SBC of the rights to data generated by the concern in the performance of an SBIR award.''

(1) Each agency must refrain from disclosing SBIR technical data to outside the Government (except reviewers) and especially to competitors of the SBC, or from using the information to produce future technical procurement specifications that could harm the SBC that discovered and developed the innovation.

(2) SBIR agencies must protect from disclosure and non-governmental use all SBIR technical data developed from work performed under an SBIR funding agreement for a period of not less than four years from delivery of the last deliverable under that agreement (either Phase I, Phase II, or Federally-funded SBIR Phase III) unless, subject to (b)(3) of this section, the agency obtains permission to disclose such SBIR technical data from the awardee or SBIR applicant. Agencies are released from obligation to protect SBIR data upon expiration of the protection period except that any such data that is also protected and referenced under a subsequent SBIR award must remain protected through the protection period of that subsequent SBIR award. For example, if a Phase III award is issued within or after the Phase II data rights protection period and the Phase III award refers to and protects data developed and protected under the Phase II award, then that data must continue to be protected through the Phase III protection period. Agencies have discretion to adopt a protection period longer than four years. The Government retains a royalty-free license for Government use of any technical data delivered under an SBIR award, whether patented or not. This section does not apply to program evaluation.

(3) SBIR technical data rights apply to all SBIR awards, including subcontracts to such awards, that fall within the statutory definition of Phase I, II, or III of the SBIR Program, as described in Section 4 of this Policy Directive. The scope and extent of the SBIR technical data rights applicable to Federally-funded Phase III awards is identical to the SBIR data rights applicable to Phases I and II SBIR awards. The data rights protection period lapses only: (i) Upon expiration of the protection period applicable to the SBIR award, or (ii) by agreement between the awardee and the agency.

(4) Agencies must insert the provisions of (b)(1), (2), and (3) immediately above as SBIR data rights clauses into all SBIR Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III awards. These data rights clauses are non- negotiable and must not be the subject of negotiations pertaining to an SBIR Phase III award, or diminished or removed during award administration. An agency must not, in any way, make issuance of an SBIR Phase III award conditional on data rights. If the SBIR awardee wishes to transfer its SBIR data rights to the awarding agency or to a third party, it must do so in writing under a separate agreement. A decision by the awardee to relinquish, transfer, or modify in any way its SBIR data rights must be made without pressure or coercion by the agency or any other party. Following issuance of an SBIR Phase III award, the awardee may enter into an agreement with the awarding agency to transfer or modify the data rights contained in that SBIR Phase III award. Such a bilateral data rights agreement must be entered into only after the SBIR Phase III award, which includes the appropriate SBIR data rights clause, has been signed. SBA must immediately report to the Congress any attempt or action by an agency to condition an SBIR award on data rights, to exclude the appropriate data rights clause from the award, or to diminish such rights.

(c) Title Transfer of Agency-Provided Property. Under the Act, the Government may transfer title to equipment provided by the SBIR agency to the awardee where such transfer would be more cost effective than recovery of the property.

(d) Continued Use of Government Equipment. The Act directs that an agency allow an SBIR awardee participating in the third phase of the SBIR Program continued use, as a directed bailment, of any property transferred by the agency to the Phase II awardee. The Phase II awardee may use the property for a period of not less than 2 years, beginning on the initial date of the concern's participation in the third phase of the SBIR Program.

(e) Grant Authority. The Act does not, in and of itself, convey grant authority. Each agency must secure grant authority in accordance with its normal procedures.

(f) Conflicts of Interest. SBA cautions SBIR agencies that awards made to SBCs owned by or employing current or previous Federal Government employees may create conflicts of interest in violation of FAR Part 3 and the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, as amended. Each SBIR agency should refer to the standards of conduct review procedures currently in effect for its agency to ensure that such conflicts of interest do not arise.

(g) American-Made Equipment and Products. Congress intends that the awardee of a funding agreement under the SBIR Program should, when purchasing any equipment or a product with funds provided through the funding agreement, purchase only American-made equipment and products, to the extent possible, in keeping with the overall purposes of this program. Each SBIR agency must provide to each awardee a notice of this requirement.