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Army Changes Approach to Intellectual Property

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U.S. Army
Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Army’s recent policy change for intellectual property management aims to find a “balanced approach” for accessing new processes without stifling industry innovation.

“In a nutshell, the policy will provide the workforce the tools to better navigate this complex IP landscape, and it will make us more sophisticated customers and users of IP,” said Alexis Lasselle Ross, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for strategy and acquisition reform.

According to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, speaking in his previous role as Army secretary, intellectual property is defined by the Army as “creations of mind,” including inventions, unique manufacturing processes and discoveries in which owners are granted exclusive rights to control use and dissemination.

Ross said the Army has taken an all-or-nothing approach to intellectual data in the past by taking more data and rights than required—which can be costly and drive away companies—or waiting too long to negotiate rights to the data. 

The policy change encourages the Army to consider the unique needs of each weapon system and its components, and to begin the planning process early.

As part of the policy change, Ross said, the Army is working on developing custom IP strategy, negotiating for custom licenses, negotiating early for competitive prices, and doing a better job of communicating with industry early and often.

Ross said the change in approach is a culture change that the Army is working on and needs time to implement.