Seven NASA software patents netted $75,000 at a March 29 auction in Los Angeles, but the U.S. space agency found no takers for the bundle of nanotechnology and smoke detector patents it put on the block, Wired magazine reports.

The auction, run by ICAP Patent Brokerage, was part of a NASA pilot program to transfer publicly funded technology to commercial entities.

“The software development patents sold for $75,000. With a starting price of $50,000, nobody bid on the nanotechnology stuff. And they also steered clear of a bargain-basement $30,000 NASA patent that covered a fancy way of reporting a broken smoke detector.

“The lot of seven patents that NASA sold cover ways of generating software specifications and even computer code from spoken words.

“Unlike the most of the other sellers at the auction, NASA doesn’t actually transfer ownership of the patents to buyers. Instead, it offers them an exclusive license to use the technology that comes with restrictions designed to keep it out of the hands of patent trolls.”


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