Skip to main content

Nonexclusive and Exclusive Licenses

NREL's technology licensing agreements with companies are either nonexclusive or exclusive depending on their field of use.


The majority of NREL's licenses are royalty bearing, nonexclusive, and contain annual performance milestones. They generally require an upfront, nonrefundable fee and royalty payments based on the net sales of products(s) sold utilizing the licensed technology. The fees and payments vary depending on the business model, market(s), and the number of patents licensed.


NREL grants an exclusive license when a review of a field-of-use situation indicates that such a license is the best mechanism for maximizing a technology's market impact. When evaluating an exclusive license request, we consider the technology's:

  • Stage of development
  • Likely commercial investment
  • Interested parties.

When multiple parties are interested, and a nonexclusive license does not meet business needs, we evaluate the interests of all parties. Then, we select a single partner for detailed negotiation.

Upfront fees and royalty payments are typically higher for exclusive licenses because of their higher value and risk. Performance milestones will also be more rigorous than a nonexclusive license.

More Information

For more information about NREL's licensing process, see licensing agreements.