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The other things is that I've had some discussions with the Department of Commerce in terms of video conferencing training for those people who do have it available. Those are really in the initial stages but-
Mr. BROWN. You also make reference to the role of the National Technical Information Service which essentially is a technology transfer mechanism which is not being fully exploited, it appears from our review of some of their problems. Some agencies are not submitting their research documentation to the Service and they have the usual resource problems and other things. We need to standardize the submission of data in digital form, probably.
Can you comment as to whether the enhanced-an enhanced role for the NTIS might make a contribution to this governmentwide technology transfer process?
Dr. SCHMID. I have not given a lot of thought on what that enhanced role might be. I have a few specific things in mind. One is part of our small business efforts that we go out into the States. We find that a lot of the people who interact with the small businesses are not aware of a lot of the resources that are available through that effort, and so some very simple things, like their laboratory resource book I would lay out on a table and maybe it was my only copy and said, you know, do not take that sort of thing, and pretty soon, it would disappear because it is a very useful document to help.
So keeping things like that current, there is also a data base of laboratory-laboratories in various States which I have found useful to use at various times, but it is out of data and sometimes I think that by some coordination of our efforts with theirs and maybe combining resources, we could keep that data base more up to date.
The use simply of on-line data bases for gathering information, either to identify an expertise or a laboratory, as well as answers to their questions, I think, are also appropriate areas that could be improved, not only within NTIS, but also within the agencies, and trying to get some uniformity within the data bases so that they focus on technology transfer language, as much as they do on the bibliographic sort of languages.
Mr. BROWN. Are these the sort of things that you are suggesting when you say that these issues are at the working level and that the solutions are being sought? Do you think these can be worked out in the normal process of the workings of the system without any additional kinds of legislative support.
Dr. SCHMID. I believe so. I think-you know, in thinking of what sort of legislation it might be—and I'm really in a poor position to figure that out, I sort of view it's more of a need at the top level in agencies and departments in getting their enthusiasm and motivation to make some of those changes.
So that's—and getting-creating that environment at the lower levels and at the working levels so that they recognize the importance that their agency puts on technology transfer.
I know I-one of the things that enthused me very much was a letter that I got from Secretary Watkins of the Department of Energy, when I sent him our annual report. He could have simply said, "Thank you, it was a nice report, but he expounded instead
on his thoughts on technology transfer and there was about a page and a half of things and suggestions that possibly the Federal Laboratory Consortium could contribute to what they're doing in terms of trying to get uniform policies.
Mr. BROWN. Well, Secretary Watkins is probably the most aggressive of all the Cabinet-level people in his support for technology transfer and also in his support for what you referred to as interaction between the laboratories and the educational-
Dr. SCHMID. Yes.
Mr. BROWN (continuing]. Situation. He has encouraged the laboratories to engage in that effort to improve science and technology education in cooperation with the vocational schools. Would all of the-would the others of you agree that this is at least an important aspect of the technology transfer process or role of the laboratories?
Mr. MORAN. Oh, yes, sir.
Mr. BROWN. Mr. Moran, I think you're the only one who suggested that it might be time to codify the several different statutes relating to technology transfer into one-we'll say simplified and more focused piece of legislation, and we've had a number of comments here as to the fact that the existing diversity of statutes may be ready for some change in the form of simplifications, possibly something that would reduce the different kinds of reporting requirements and would contribute to an overall simplification of the process in a fashion that even OMB might react favorably to.
I think the Committee would be willing to consider that if there's a feeling, a consensus that we could adopt one codified, more straightforward kind of a vehicle, legislative vehicle, and at the same time, maybe address some of the issues which you mostly consider to be minor, but the software patent or copyright problem and one or two other things like that.
Do you feel there would be a consensus on something like that in the technology transfer
community? Mr. MORAN. I'm confident of it. I think that all of us who have worked with these separate pieces of legislation have appreciated them, but as the next one comes up, we find there's enough difference that we have to resolve those differences, either in contractual changes or by changes in our policies and approaches.
It would be nice to see, for example, that rights in data issue spread uniformly across. There is some confusion created by the fact that under one law, the contractor, in the case of a contractoroperated lab, can elect title and then license and yet, in the NCTTA of last November, it's the laboratory director who has the authority to commit rights to development.
Mr. Brown. That problem could be resolved -
Mr. MORAN. Those things—those things could be—and the number of other minor, but-but continually-
Mr. BROWN. The licensing of nonpatentable technologies or-yes.
Mr. MORAN. We would like very much to see some authority to do that.
Mr. BROWN. I think the Committee would be favorably disposed toward considering something like that. You're well aware that this structure was erected as kind of jury-built structure
Mr. MORAN. Sure.
Mr. BROWN (continuing). Without knowing exactly where it was leading to, but feeling that it was significant that we try and do something about it. One of the things that Congress ought to be looking at is how we can reduce the number of different legislative vehicles and simplify their application, and we probably ought to be doing that much more broadly than we have in the past.
Each of us likes to have a law with our name on it, you know. (Laughter.]
Mr. BROWN. I appreciate this very much. Mr. Chairman, I have no further questions.
Mr. VALENTINE. Thank you, sir.
Well, thank you, gentlemen, for everything, for your-as I've said to the other witnesses, for your time—the time it took you to prepare yourselves to come here and for being here with us today, and with that, the Subcommittee will stand adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 1:05 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene subject to the call of the Chair.]