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Licensing Process

Through licensing of its intellectual property rights, NREL provides industry with an opportunity to commercialize NREL-developed energy technologies and products. Our licensing opportunities are available to both small and large businesses—from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.

Step-by-Step Process

To identify a licensing opportunity, a company can browse the Lab Partnering Service. From the Portal, the company can review publically available information about NREL innovations and can directly contact NREL licensing executives about technologies of interest.

NREL then asks the company to provide technical and financial information to assess the company's resources and commitments to commercialize the technology.

The next step involves negotiating the business terms of the license, such as intellectual property rights, field of use, term and geographic scope of grants, and corresponding fees.

After the company and NREL agree on license financial terms, NREL will draft a license agreement.

For additional information on licensing intellectual property, see the Technology Transfer Working Group Licensing Guide and Sample License.

After a draft agreement has been created, NREL can tailor many of the license provisions to ensure an agreement that works for all parties and that enables the introduction of a commercial product into the market.

When the negotiation process ends, NREL and the company execute the license under the terms of the agreement.

Both NREL and the company manage their performance milestones for achieving the goal of introducing products or services in the market.

Candidate Questionnaire

NREL uses the following document to evaluate licensing candidates during the first step in the licensing process.

Download Candidate Summary Questionnaire

Agreement Types

Exclusive Patent License Agreement

Download sample agreement

Nonexclusive Patent License Agreement

Download sample agreement

Option Agreement


Express License Agreement

Certain innovations developed at NREL are available through the Express License, designed to streamline transaction times with standardized terms that allow for rapid licensing. Express license conditions apply only to technologies identified by NREL and license terms are generally not intended for negotiation.

Energy License Agreement

This technology transfer tool allows licensees to deduct a portion of fuel and electricity offsets against a portion of their royalty fees. It is intended to encourage the adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, gives preference to U.S. small businesses, and bolsters the utilization of federally funded innovations to benefit the public.


Eric Payne | 303-275-3166.