What is a CRADA?

A Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) is an agreement between a Federal laboratory and a non-Federal party to perform collaborative research and development in any area that is consistent with the Federal laboratory's mission. CRADAs are the most frequently used mechanism for formalizing interactions and partnerships between private industry and the Naval Research Laboratory and the only mechanism for receiving funds from non-Federal sources for collaborative work.

Under the statute that authorizes CRADAs (15 U.S.C. 3710a), a Federal laboratory may provide personnel, services, facilities, and equipment, but no funds, to the joint R & D effort. A non-Federal party may provide funds, in addition to personnel, services, facilities, and equipment to the joint R & D effort. For details of the terms and provisions, see the Standard NRL CRADA.

A CRADA defines the tasks to be done within an area of collaboration and grants the Government a Government purpose license and the non-Federal party a non-exclusive, paid-up, royalty-free license for internal use of any patents that result from the CRADA research. The non-Federal party is also granted an option to negotiate either an exclusive or nonexclusive commercial license within a field of use, subject to Government-purpose rights. The CRADA also provides protection of proprietary information.


How is a CRADA initiated?

In coordination with the technical representative from NRL, contact the NRL Technology Transfer Office to execute a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to protect any existing Intellectual Property (IP). Once the NDA is in place, the requesting technical representative from NRL should submit a work statement, highlighting any anticipated collaboration, to NRL's Office of General Counsel. If a CRADA is identified as the appropriate vehicle for the effort and approval to proceed with a CRADA is obtained, the technical representatives from NRL and the non-Federal party complete the CRADA Questionnaire and email it to techtran@research.nrl.navy.mil.


How long does it take to put a CRADA in place?

On average, the CRADA process - from receipt of a completed CRADA questionnaire to the execution of the CRADA - takes three months, but can vary considerably. Additional time may be required for more complex CRADAs, such as those with foreign entities, or with companies using SBIR or STTR funding, both of which require additional approvals.


Can NRL enter into a CRADA with a foreign entity?

Yes. However, proposed CRADAs with foreign entities are subject to review and approval by NRL's Director of Research (DOR) prior to CRADA negotiations. An export license may be required depending on the technology. The NRL Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for determining whether the technology is on the Export Control List and for obtaining approval from the DOR.


Can a small business use SBIR or STTR funding to pay for NRL work under a CRADA?

In general, the Small Business Agency (SBA) prohibits SBIR or STTR funding from being used by other Federal government agencies. A non-Federal partner planning to use this type of funding for a CRADA must obtain a waiver from the appropriate SBIR program manager.


Are there any other considerations regarding potential CRADA collaborators?

Yes - preference must be given to business units located, and that agree to manufacture substantially, in the United States.


When is a CRADA appropriate?

When there is COLLABORATION. CRADAs offer the opportunity for NRL scientists to collaborate with non-Federal parties on R & D efforts. They may be funded or unfunded by the non-Federal party. A CRADA requires commitments that certain tasks will be performed by NRL only, certain tasks be performed by the non-Federal partner only, and joint tasks be performed by NRL and the non-Federal partner together. If the anticipated work is to be performed by NRL only, the appropriate agreement is most likely a Work for Outside Parties Agreement. Such agreements are managed by NRL's Office of General Counsel.


Can Classified Information be utilized or exchanged under a CRADA?

No. NRL does not allow the use of Classified Information in the performance of a CRADA.


What are "Non-Subject Inventions"?

Non-subject inventions are inventions developed outside the SOW and owned either by the Navy or the non-Federal party. There is no implied or expressed license to these inventions under a CRADA. The non-Federal partner must obtain a license to NRL-owned non-subject inventions required to commercialize a Subject Invention. However, each CRADA partner is allowed to practice any non-subject inventions for the purpose of performing work covered under the CRADA.


What are "Subject Inventions"?

Subject Inventions are inventions made in the performance of work as defined by the SOW. Inventions that may be Subject Inventions must be reported to the NRL Office of Counsel for Intellectual Property, who will determine whether or not an invention is a Subject Invention based on information in the Invention Disclosure and the CRADA's SOW.


What rights to inventions does the Government retain?

In the case of both Subject and Non-Subject Inventions, the Federal Government retains "a non-exclusive, nontransferable, irrevocable, paid-up license from the collaborating party to the laboratory to practice the invention or have the invention practiced throughout the world by or on behalf of the Government." (15 U.S.C. 3710a (b) (1) (A))


What is the duration of a CRADA?

The duration of a CRADA is determined by the nature of the SOW and is usually two (2) years, and cannot exceed three (3) years.


Can a CRADA be amended to extend the duration or other terms or provisions?

Yes. However, expired CRADAs cannot be amended or extended. Any amendment must be executed before the existing agreement expires. Sufficient notice to TTO to allow for drafting, review, approval, and signature of an amendment can alleviate the necessity for a new CRADA. An amendment that extends the duration or that modifies the SOW and funding can be put in place at any time prior to expiration with the review, approval, and signature of both parties.

Have more questions? Contact NRL TTO.