SBIR and your Intellectual Property – America’s Seed Fund Week 2022

I just participated in “America’s Seed Fund Week” – all about the SBIR/STTR programs.  I’ve got a lot of great info coming for your, but I wanted to tackle right away something I heard a lot of questions asked about during Seed Fund Week.


I heard some teams bragging about how they already have patents, and then want SBIR funding.  And I heard from SBIR/STTR representatives say “wow patents are great”.  But it is important to really understand the relationship between your existing IP, IP you might develop under SBIR/STTR funding, and other IP that you might develop separately.

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about the government rights that are granted under the SBIR/STTR programs.

The government does have “some” so-called march in rights.  If you created something under the SBIR or STTR programs AND it was needed in an emergency AND you weren’t able to deliver it to the market (or get it licensed to someone who could get it into the market), then the government could march in.

For example, let’s say you had received SBIR or STTR funds for a novel vaccine technology for a brand new pandemic and you refused to partner with larger players who could manufacture billions of needed of doses…..In that case, I imagine the U.S. government would exercise march in rights.  And to be honest, you’d deserve it if you were making such bad business decisions!

I have heard many SBIR personnel say that they have NEVER seen these rights exercised.  And I have NEVER heard of a case of such rights being exercised.  That’s doesn’t mean they “couldn’t” be exercised, but the feds would not prefer that, they’d prefer to get a private sector solution to get your capabilities into the market.  And they’d prefer that you behave as a mature business person to get such partnerships completed in a timely fashion.

Don’t forget, if you need more help, check out my online course, Develop a Winning SBIR Strategy, and don’t forget your free guide below!

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