National Labs

National Lab offers tech test drives to business

tech transfer

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has a quick way for companies to examine some of the advanced cybersecurity and other technologies it has developed before signing on for a longer-term licensing agreement.

Together, the national labs have licensed 19 cybersecurity technologies to commercial interests through the Department of Homeland Security’s Transition To Practice program launched in 2012 to help move advanced technologies developed at the labs out into the commercial marketplace.

One of the tools in PNNL's belt to interest industry partners is a $1,000 two-page exploratory license that allows companies to "kick-the-tires" on a technology for six months to determine how it fits into their product and service offerings before they take the plunge and acquire a commercial license, said Kannan Krishnaswami, one of the lab's commercial managers in an email to FCW.

So far, PNNL said it has licensed five technologies through TTP, the most of any of the labs.

PNNL said on Dec. 1 it licensed three cybersecurity technologies to Cynash Inc., a startup company funded by IP Group, an intellectual property commercialization company.

Cynash was formed specifically to bring the three cyber protection technologies to market. According to the lab, the company will integrate them into a suite of products and services aimed at private enterprise, the public sector and industrial control systems.

Technologies under TTP have a three-year "residence" in the program, where they go through a maturation process, said Krishnaswami, but there isn't a typical turnaround time.

"TTP selects technologies that have the potential to solve a market need regardless of its maturity," he said.  "Thus, it's only natural that the path to licensing will vary depending on maturity," he said.

Some licenses are picked up within that three-year time frame, while others are licensed after they "graduate" from residency in TTP’s immediate technology classes, he said.

"It's the buzz that is created around the technologies via the outreach program established through TTP that allows practitioners to cherry pick technologies and see how they can create a product or service that meets a market need,” Krishnaswami said.  “This outreach and matchmaking continues even after technologies have graduated the program."

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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