Ownership of an invention made pursuant to a U.S. government contract may be vested in the contracting government agency. The Board determines two such ownership contests using interference procedures: for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), 42 U.S.C. 2457 (inventions having significant utility in aeronautical or space activity), and for the Department of Energy (DoE), 42 U.S.C. 2182 (inventions relating to special nuclear material or atomic energy).
An applicant with an application covered by these Acts must file a statement regarding the making or conception of the invention and any relation to a contract with NASA or DoE. See MPEP § 150 and § 151. The examiner should work in coordination with Licensing and Review and one of the Technology Centers’ Interference Practice Specialists in suggesting these cases to the Board. Although these cases are not interferences, the interference practices in this chapter generally apply to NASA and DoE ownership contests as well.