Introduced by Representatives Botzow of Pownal, Jerman of Essex, Clarkson of Woodstock, Edwards of Brattleboro, Evans of Essex, Haas of Rochester, Hosford of Waitsfield, Johnson of South Hero, Martin of Wolcott, Milkey of Brattleboro, Minter of Waterbury, Nease of Johnson, Shand of Weathersfield and Sharpe of Bristol
Subject: Conservation and development; inventors’ assistance
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to establish a program to assist inventors in Vermont with research and patenting.
AN ACT RELATING TO INVENTORS’ ASSISTANCE
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 10 V.S.A. chapter 14B is added to read:
Chapter 14B. Inventors’ Assistance
§ 295. TITLE
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Inventors’ Assistance Act.
§ 296. DEFINITIONS
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) “Commercial state” means the point at which a product has been developed beyond the theoretical and prototype stage and is capable of being manufactured or practiced commercially.
(2) “Gross sales revenues” means all revenues or anything of value received by any person from the sale of a proprietary product.
(3) “Intellectual property” means patents, copyrights, or trademarks acquired pursuant to federal or state law or applications for patent or for copyright or trademark registration.
(4) “Inventor” means any person who conceives a new concept which may result in a proprietary product.
(5) “Product” means any device, technique, process, item of manufacture, composition of matter, or work of authorship.
(6) “Product development plan” means a plan prepared by Invent Vermont for developing a product to the commercial state.
(7) “Proposal” means a plan provided by the inventor which includes technical and descriptive information on a product.
(8) “Proprietary product” means a product patented, copyrighted, or trademairked pursuant to federal or state law or for which an application for patent or for copyright or trademark registration is pending.
(9) “Royalties” means all things of value received by an inventor in connection with the licensing of a proprietary product or the assignment, sale, or licensing of intellectual property.
§ 297. PROGRAM DESIGN
Invent Vermont is authorized to establish a program to provide assistance to inventors. The inventors’ assistance program shall be designed to:
(1) Attract inventors from throughout Vermont, the nation, and the world and encourage them to submit their proposals for review and evaluation.
(2) Provide assistance to inventors whose proposals are accepted after evaluation and review. Assistance may include patent searches, market analysis, product research and development, assistance in obtaining financing, business counseling, and any other assistance which is necessary to develop the product to the commercial state. To protect both Vermont and the inventor, a disclosure document shall be on file with the U.S. Patent Office before the council will review a proposal.
(3) Provide assistance to enable the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of the product.
(4) Protect the confidentiality of each inventor’s proposals to the extent permitted by law.
§ 298. POWERS
Invent Vermont may:
(1) Enter into contracts on a competitive bid basis or noncompetitive bid basis, consistent with state laws and regulations with public and private agencies, institutions, organizations, and individuals for the purpose of providing assistance to and services for inventors as required by this chapter.
(2) Solicit the support and contribution of public and private agencies, organizations, institutions, and individuals.
(3) Receive and administer funds for the purpose of operating the inventors’ assistance program.
(4) Advertise and promote the inventors’ assistance program.
(5) Adopt policies and procedures to implement the provisions of this chapter.
(6) Acquire security interests in intellectual property to the extent necessary to protect the state’s interest in the fees charged pursuant to this chapter.
§ 299. FILING FEE; PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT PLAN; ROYALTIES
(a) Invent Vermont shall charge a filing fee of up to $500.00 for each proposal submitted for review and evaluation, depending upon the cost to research the proposal as determined by Invent Vermont.
(b) After review and evaluation, proposals shall be accepted or rejected for product development under the inventors’ assistance program.
(c) If a proposal is accepted for product development, Invent Vermont shall prepare a product development plan which will include a technical plan for developing the product, time schedule, and estimated cost. Invent Vermont will have an established policy for making decisions to develop products utilizing appropriate resources and bringing the products to a commercial state. The services of the Invent Vermont may include patent searches, applications for patent, copyright registration, market analysis, product research and development, assistance in obtaining financing, including financing from private resources, and business counseling.
(d) If the inventor wants the Invent Vermont to develop the product according to the product development plan but is unable to finance all or part of the development, the Invent Vermont may develop the product using in part its own or other resources, provided such resources are available. The inventor shall be liable to pay a fee pursuant to subdivision (e)(3) of this section. The inventor may finance the product development plan in full and, in such cases, there will not be any additional fee involved.
(e) Before services to aid in the development of the product shall commence, the Invent Vermont shall enter into a written contract with the inventor which shall include, in addition to any other provisions consistent with this chapter:
(1) The services which the Invent Vermont will provide to aid in the development of the product.
(2) Any other services which the Invent Vermont will assist the inventor in obtaining and for which the inventor shall be liable pursuant to written consent.
(3)(A) Authorization for the Invent Vermont to receive a fee not to exceed an amount equal to:
(i) Ten percent of all royalties from the product for a period not to exceed ten years from the first day after royalties are first received by the inventor;
(ii) One percent of the gross sales revenue for a period not to exceed ten years from the first day after the product reaches the commercial state; or
(iii) an equitable percentage of any consideration received from the sale, licensing, or transfer of any interest in intellectual property or proprietary products.
(B) The fee shall be based on a consideration of the following factors:
(i) The inventor’s contribution to the financing of the product according to the product development plan;
(ii) The Invent Vermont’s contribution to the financing of the product according to the product development plan; and
(iii) The potential for commercial success of the product.
(4) A written agreement from the inventor that all products developed under the program shall be researched, developed, manufactured, packaged in Vermont, and distributed from Vermont to the extent that it is economically feasible; provided, wherever the products are manufactured the fee set forth in subdivision (3) of this subsection shall accrue to the Invent Vermont pursuant to this chapter.
(5) Provision for acquisition by Invent Vermont of any security interest in intellectual property as required to protect Invent Vermont’s interest in the fee paid pursuant to this section.
(6) Agreement by the inventor that any assignment, sale, or licensing of a product or intellectual property developed under the program shall be subject to Invent Vermont’s security interest, and that any contract with a third party for the assignment, sale, or licensing of a product or intellectual property developed under the program shall explicitly condition such assignment, sale, or license on the prior rights of the Invent Vermont.
(7) Provision for such fiscal reporting by the inventor, the inventor’s assignee, or licensee as may be necessary to assure the performance of all provisions of the written contract.
(f) Invent Vermont is authorized to enter into a written contract with each of its employees which shall include provisions designed to protect the confidentiality of inventors’ proposals and to prohibit the employee from using information gained at Invent Vermont to compete with or disadvantage any inventor.
§ 299a. INVENTORS’ ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FUND
The inventors’ assistance program fund is established in the state treasury and shall be administered by Invent Vermont pursuant to subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32. There shall be deposited into the fund any monies appropriated by the general assembly or received by Invent Vermont for the support of the program from any other source public or private, including the fees assessed pursuant to this chapter. The fund shall be used for the purpose of establishing and maintaining the inventors’ assistance program established by this chapter.
§ 299b. REPORT
Invent Vermont shall submit an annual report based on the fiscal year on or before December 31 of each year to the governor and the general assembly. The report shall include:
(1) The number of proposals submitted for review and evaluation.
(2) The number of proposals accepted for development and the number rejected.
(3) The number of products patented.
(4) The number of products developed to the commercial state.
(5) The number of jobs created and preserved as a result of the manufacturing, marketing, packaging, warehousing, and distribution of products.
(6) An estimate of the multiplier effect on the Vermont economy as a result of jobs so created and preserved.
§ 299c. SEVERABILITY
If any provision of this chapter or its application to any person or circumstances is held invalid, its invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end, the provisions of this chapter are severable.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street