[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 21 (Wednesday, February 1, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 4885-4887]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-2159]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

10 CFR Part 780

RIN 1990-AA33


Patent Compensation Board Regulations

AGENCY: Office of the General Counsel, Department of Energy.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Energy (DOE) today is amending its Patent

[[Page 4886]]

Compensation Board regulations to provide that the Secretary of Energy, 
or a person acting in that position, shall appoint, as needed, a three 
member panel to serve as the Patent Compensation Board to hear and 
decide cases falling under the subject matter jurisdiction of the 
Board. The Secretary of Energy shall further designate one member as 
the chairman. This action is made necessary by the abolishment of the 
Department of Energy Board of Contract Appeals, which had previously 
served as the Patent Compensation Board.

DATES: This final rule is effective February 1, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John T. Lucas, Office of the Assistant 
General Counsel for Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property, U.S. 
Department of Energy, Forrestal Building, Room 6F-067, 1000 
Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20585; Telephone (202) 586-2802.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Discussion
II. Final Action
III. Regulatory Review

I. Discussion

    The DOE regulations at 10 CFR part 780 establish the procedures, 
terms, and conditions for the DOE Patent Compensation Board. The Patent 
Compensation Board was established by section 157 of the Atomic Energy 
Act of 1954 (the ``Act'') (42 U.S.C. 2187). Under section 157, the 
Board is given authority to determine reasonable royalty fees and to 
resolve issues involving the grant of awards. In addition, the Board 
has authority: (a) To hear and make decisions as to compensation under 
section 173 of the Act (42 U.S.C. 2223) and the Invention Secrecy Act 
(35 U.S.C. 183); (b) to hear and make decisions as to whether a 
specific patent is affected with the public interest pursuant to 
section 153a of the Act (42 U.S.C. 2183(a)); (c) to hear and make 
decisions as to whether a specific patent license should be granted 
under sections 153b(2) and 153e of the Act (42 U.S.C. 2183(b)(2), (e)); 
(d) to give notices, hold hearings and take such other actions as may 
be necessary under section 153; and (e) to exercise all powers 
available under the Act and necessary for the performance of these 
duties, including the issuance of such rules of procedure as may be 
necessary.
    Part 780 has several outdated sections that need amending because 
of the abolishment of the Energy Board of Contract Appeals (EBCA). The 
EBCA served as the Patent Compensation Board under the current 
regulations. DOE is amending certain sections of 10 CFR part 780 that 
related to the EBCA operating as the Patent Compensation Board. DOE is 
also amending the regulations to provide that the Secretary of Energy, 
or a person acting in that position, appoint a three member panel to 
serve as the Patent Compensation Board. The Secretary of Energy shall 
further designate one member as the chairman. None of these changes are 
substantive.

II. Final Action

    DOE is publishing this final rule without prior notice and 
opportunity for public comment, and is making the rule effective upon 
publication in the Federal Register, because the Administrative 
Procedure Act exempts rules of procedure from its notice and comment 
and delayed effective date requirements (5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(A) and 
(d)).

III. Regulatory Review

A. Review Under Executive Order 12866

    This regulatory action has been determined not to be a 
``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866, 
``Regulatory Planning and Review'' (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993). 
Accordingly, this final rule was not subject to review under the 
Executive Order by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs 
within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

B. Review Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires 
preparation of an initial regulatory flexibility analysis for any rule 
that by law must be proposed for public comment, unless the agency 
certifies that the rule, if promulgated, will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Because a 
general notice of proposed rulemaking is not required by any law, the 
analytical provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act do not apply, 
and DOE has not prepared a regulatory flexibility analysis for this 
rulemaking.

C. Review Under the National Environmental Policy Act

    Pursuant to the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations (40 
CFR 1500-08), DOE has established regulations for its compliance with 
the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). 
Pursuant to Appendix A of Subpart D of 10 CFR part 1021, DOE has 
determined that today's regulatory action is strictly procedural 
(Categorical Exclusion A6). Accordingly, neither an environmental 
impact statement nor an environmental assessment is required.

D. Review Under the Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final rule contains no new collection of information requiring 
OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

E. Review Under Executive Order 12988

    With respect to the review of existing regulations and the 
promulgation of new regulations, section 3(a) of E.O.12988, ``Civil 
Justice Reform'' (61 FR 4729, February 7, 1996), imposes on executive 
agencies the general duty to adhere to the following requirements: (1) 
Eliminate drafting errors and ambiguity; (2) write regulations to 
minimize litigation; and (3) provide a clear legal standard for 
affected conduct rather than a general standard and promote 
simplification and burden reduction. Section 3(b) of E.O. 12988 
specifically requires that executive agencies make every reasonable 
effort to ensure that the regulation: (1) Clearly specifies the 
preemptive effect, if any; (2) clearly specifies any effect on existing 
Federal law or regulation; (3) provides a clear legal standard for 
affected conduct while promoting simplification and burden reduction; 
(4) specifies the retroactive effect, if any; (5) adequately defines 
key terms; and (6) addresses other important issues affecting clarity 
and general draftsmanship under any guidelines issued by the United 
States Attorney General. Section 3(c) of E.O. 12988 requires executive 
agencies to review regulations in light of applicable standards in 
section 3(a) and section 3(b) to determine whether they are met or it 
is unreasonable to meet one or more of them. DOE has completed the 
required review and determined that, to the extent permitted by law, 
this final rule meets the relevant standards of E.O. 12988.

F. Review Under Executive Order 13132

    Executive Order 13132, ``Federalism'' (64 FR 43255, August 4, 1999) 
imposes certain requirements on agencies formulating and implementing 
policies or regulations that preempt state law or that have federalism 
implications. Agencies are required to examine the constitutional and 
statutory authority supporting any action that would limit the 
policymaking discretion of the states and carefully assess the 
necessity for such actions. DOE has examined today's rule and has 
determined that it does not preempt state law and does not have a 
substantial direct effect on the states, on

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the relationship between the national government and the states, or on 
the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels 
of government. No further action is required by E.O. 13132.

G. Review Under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104)-4) requires 
a federal agency to perform a detailed assessment of costs and benefits 
of any rule imposing a federal mandate with costs to state, local or 
tribal governments, or to the private sector. This rulemaking does not 
impose a federal mandate on state, local or tribal governments or on 
the private sector.

H. Review Under the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 
1999

    Section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations 
Act, 1999 (Pub. L. 105-277), requires federal agencies to issue a 
Family Policymaking Assessment for any rule or policy that may affect 
family well being. This rule will have no impact on family, the 
autonomy or integrity of the family as an institution. Accordingly, DOE 
has concluded that it is not necessary to prepare a Family Policy 
Assessment.

I. Review Under the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 
2001

    The Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2001 (44 
U.S.C. 3516 note) provides for agencies to review most disseminations 
of information to the public under guidelines established by each 
agency pursuant to general guidelines issued by OMB. OMB's guidelines 
were published at 67 FR 8452 (February 22, 2002), and DOE's guidelines 
were published at 67 FR 62446 (October 7, 2002). DOE has reviewed 
today's rule under the OMB and DOE guidelines and has concluded that it 
is consistent with applicable policies in those guidelines.

J. Review Under Executive Order 13211

    Executive Order 13211, ``Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use'' (66 FR 
28355, May 22, 2001) requires federal agencies to prepare and submit to 
the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), OMB, a 
Statement of Energy Effects for any significant energy action. A 
``significant energy action'' is defined as any action by an agency 
that promulgates or is expected to lead to promulgation of a final 
rule, and that: (1) Is a significant regulatory action under E.O. 
12866, or any successor order; and (2) is likely to have a significant 
adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy, or (3) is 
designated by the Administrator of OIRA as a significant energy action. 
For any significant energy action, the agency must give a detailed 
statement of any adverse effects on energy supply, distribution, or use 
should the proposal be implemented, and of reasonable alternatives to 
the action and their expected benefits on energy supply, distribution, 
and use. Today's rule is not a significant energy action. Accordingly, 
DOE has not prepared a Statement of Energy Effects.

K. Congressional Notification

    As required by 5 U.S.C. 801, DOE will report to Congress 
promulgation of this rule prior to its effective date. The report will 
state that it has been determined that the rule is not a ``major rule'' 
as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

L. Approval by the Office of the Secretary of Energy

    The Office of the Secretary of Energy has approved issuance of this 
final rule.

List of Subjects in 10 CFR Part 780

    Administrative practice and procedure, Inventions and patents.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on December 23, 2011.
Daniel B. Poneman,
Deputy Secretary of Energy.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, DOE amends Chapter III 
of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulation as set forth below:

PART 780--PATENT COMPENSATION BOARD REGULATIONS

0
1. The authority citation for part 780 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 7151, 7254; 42 U.S.C. 5814, 5815; 42 U.S.C. 
2183, 2187, 2223; 35 U.S.C. 183; North American Free Trade 
Agreement, Article 1709(10), as implemented by the North American 
Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182.


0
2. Section 780.4 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  780.4  Filing and service of documents.

    (a) All communications regarding proceedings subject to this part 
should be addressed to: Chairman, Patent Compensation Board, U.S. 
Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 
20585. All documents offered for filing shall be accompanied by proof 
of service upon all parties to the proceeding or their attorneys of 
record as required by law, rule, or order of the Department. Service on 
the Department shall be by mail or delivery to: Office of Assistant 
General Counsel for Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property, U.S. 
Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 
20585.
    (b) Filing by mail will be deemed to be complete as of the time of 
deposit in the United States mail.


0
3. Revise Sec.  780.9 to read as follows:


Sec.  780.9  Make-up of the Patent Compensation Board.

    The DOE Secretary of Energy, or a person acting in that position, 
shall appoint a three member panel to serve as the Patent Compensation 
Board to hear and decide cases falling under the subject matter 
jurisdiction set forth in Sec.  780.3 of this part. The Secretary of 
Energy shall further designate one member as the chairman. The Board 
may be appointed to hear cases on an ad hoc basis, or on other such 
term of service deemed appropriate by the Secretary. All proceedings 
shall be conducted pursuant to rules of procedure provided by the 
Board.

[FR Doc. 2012-2159 Filed 1-31-12; 8:45 am]
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