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What is the legal basis for NPS benefits sharing?

Thermal algae.
Green algae flow in Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone NP. Photo by NPS/Peaco.

The National Parks Omnibus Management Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to "enter into negotiations with the research community and private industry for equitable, efficient benefits-sharing arrangements" (16 USC 5935(d)). Because the Act does not provide detail on implementation, such as the type of arrangements that NPS should use or the authority to directly retain monetary benefits (rather than conveying them to the U.S. Treasury), NPS relies on the following additional authorities to implement benefits sharing:

  • Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986 (FTTA) and related legislation (15 USC 3710), which focuses on technology transfer and enables federal laboratories, and therefore park units designated as federal laboratories, to enter into Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) under which a federal agency has numerous authorities including the ability to 1) negotiate licenses for patented inventions made at federal laboratories; 2) grant and waive rights to federal laboratory inventions and intellectual property; and 3) accept, retain, and use funds, personnel, services, and property from a collaborating party and provide personnel, services, and property to a collaborating party.
  • Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997, Section 203 of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998, and Section 818 of the Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of 1996 (16 USC 1g for park programs, 16 USC 5933 for cooperative studies units, and 16 USC 1a-2[j] for park research), and the National Park Service Organic Act (16 USC 1 through 4) and other authorities cited in Director's Order #20: Agreements, which collectively authorize NPS to receive and transfer money, property, services, or anything else of value with state, local, and tribal governments, other public entities, educational institutions, and private non-profit organizations to fulfill research, training, information dissemination, and other missions of the NPS.

Last Updated: January 03, 2017