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Spinoff 2001

 
Keeping Track Every Step of the Way

When it comes to helping businesses manage and share their intellectual assets, NASA and its employees are an excellent resource. One of those resources, Kevin Barquinero, is co-founder of Knowledge Sharing Systems, Inc. (KSS), of Raleigh, North Carolina, a significant and influential provider of software applications.

Barquinero was employed at NASA Headquarters in the Commercial Technology Program, making him an expert on the many efforts and successes resulting from the Agency's various technology transfer activities. Combining his experience with the knowledge of co-founders Steve Monteith and Simon Wright, they formed KSS--a company that produces intellectual assets management software systems for clients in the federal government, universities, non-profit laboratories, and private companies.

KSS constructed and presently manages the NASA Technology Tracking System, also known as TechTracS, under contract to Langley Research Center. TechTracS identifies and captures all NASA technologies, manages the patent prosecution process, and then tracks their progress en route to commercialization. The system supports all steps involved in various technology transfer activities, and is considered the premier intellectual asset management system used in the federal government today. NASA TechTracS consists of multiple relational databases and web servers, located at each of the 10 field centers, as well as NASA Headquarters. The system is capable of supporting the following functions: planning commercial technologies; commercialization activities; reporting new technologies and inventions; and processing and tracking intellectual property rights, licensing, partnerships, awards, and success stories. NASA TechTracS is critical to the Agency's ongoing mission to commercialize its revolutionary technologies in a variety of sectors within private industry, both aerospace and non-aerospace.

screen shot of KSS tracking system Each technology entered into KSS TechTracS is given a tracking number and is carefully followed through all aspects of licensing, patenting, awards, and other commercialization efforts.
screen shot of NASAs TechFinder web site NASA's TechFinder web site, which is fed information by TechTracS, offers users a wealth of information regarding technologies available for commercialization.


NASA TechTracS benefits not only the NASA community, but also the private sector by making technology transfer information available through its NASA TechFinder web site at http://technology.nasa.gov. NASA's TechFinder provides users with a searchable database containing almost 20,000 publicly available technologies. A simple search by keyword, state, NASA field center, or reference number, allows people and businesses to easily view the many technology opportunities that NASA currently offers to private industry.

While Langley manages the system, running it effectively requires the expertise of KSS employees, as well as the cooperation of all the field centers. Each center provides input and is actively involved in the system's improvement process. Agency-wide involvement is unique to the development of the TechTracS software, making it a shining example of how NASA not only supports the development of innovative new technologies, but also assists in their refinement.

Both Langley Research Center and Kennedy Space Center nominated NASA TechTracS for the prestigious Software of the Year award for 2001. Recently, KSS launched its commercial intellectual asset management system, KSS TechTracS, which is aimed particularly at universities and non-profit laboratories. KSS and NASA TechTracS exemplify the efforts of NASA and private industry working together to provide people and businesses with the benefits enjoyed from the country's investment in aerospace research.


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