Ethics Issues Related to the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986: Memorandum for Stephen D. Potts, Director, Office of Government Ethics [September 12, 1993]   [open pdf - 39KB]

"You have asked us to advise whether we agree with a September 27, 1988 letter from the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) to the Department of Commerce (1988 OGE letter) and to review a draft OGE letter to the Special Counsel for Ethics at the Department of Health and Human Services (draft OGE letter). Both letters address issues involving the relationship between federal conflict-of-interest laws and the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986 (FTTA), as amended, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1501-1534. We believe that the 1988 OGE letter was correct in concluding that payments to a government employee under FTTA section 7 do not violate 18 U.S.C. § 208 or 18 U.S.C. § 209(a). We also agree with the conclusion of the draft OGE letter that, on the specific facts stated there, section 208 bars an employee from working in his official capacity on an invention for which the employee holds a foreign patent, and for which the employee has contracted for foreign commercialization with the same company that is under contract with the federal government to develop the invention."

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