NIST Redesigns Platform for Reporting Federally Funded Inventions

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The National Institute of Standards and Technology upgraded the iEdison platform to include new features and an improved interface.

The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology redesigned its online platform where organizations report federally-funded inventions, in an effort to promote the transfer of technology from invention to the marketplace.

The revamped Interagency Edison system, or iEdison, has an updated user interface, new functionalities, such as new messaging features and an expanded application programming interface—or API—and is integrated with information systems from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in addition to new security features.

The updated iEdison is designed to help government grantees and contractors adhere to the reporting requirements in the Bayh-Dole Act. Specifically, the act requires grantees to notify the government of inventions that came from the support of federal funding. Entities use iEdison to report their progress and inventions, request extensions and waivers, and “inform the government of its limited use rights to patents on taxpayer-funded inventions.”

“These upgrades will make it easier for recipients to comply with their reporting obligations and for federal agencies [to] protect the public’s investment in research and development,” Bethany Loftin, NIST’s project leader for the iEdison system and its Technology Partnerships Office’s interagency and iEdison specialist, said.

According to NIST, the federal government gives more than $150 billion in grants and funding agreements per year to support American universities and other nongovernmental organizations’ research and development. In 2021 there were more than 8,500 inventions and 21,000 patents added to iEdison. 

“The inventions listed in iEdison create immense economic value for the nation, support jobs and improve our quality of life,” Mojdeh Bahar, NIST’s associate director for innovation and industry services, said. “The new upgrades to the iEdison system will help inventors, awardees and the government manage these investments efficiently and transparently.”

NIST noted that the U.S. National Academies recommended that the responsibility for iEdison be transferred to the Department of Commerce from the National Institutes of Health, which originally developed it in 1995. NIST was chosen to implement the upgrade, and it began to work on this endeavor in December 2019. On Aug. 2, 2022, NIST shut down the old NIH system. The new iEdison system went live a week later on August 9.