Restrictions on Disclosure and Use of Data
Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT) generates a significant amount of proprietary information or trade secrets in connection with its research activities. It is essential that proprietary information not be released to anyone without alerting the recipient to restrictions on its use and further dissemination. In communications with federal government sponsors, GIT proprietary information should be marked appropriately.
The following questions must be addressed prior to determining how the proprietary information should be marked:
- Is the proprietary information being provided to the federal sponsor in connection with a proposal or quotation or is the proprietary information being provided as an interim or final report to the federal sponsor?
- Is the federal sponsor a Department of Defense (DoD) sponsor or a non-DoD sponsor?
- What rights (unlimited or other) has the federal agency obtained?
- Is the proprietary information computer software?
- If the proprietary information is in the form of computer software, is it custom software or is the software generally commercially available?
OSP Responsibilities for Managing Proprietary Information
The OSP contracting officer will review the contract and take the following actions:
- Advise the project director of Georgia Tech’s copyright notice requirements
- Advise the project director which notices are applicable to the proprietary information being delivered
- Advise the project director how to classify the proprietary information as unlimited, limited restricted, or government purpose rights
- Additionally, if the contract is a DoD contract, the contracting officer must inform the government contracting officer of the identity of the project director within sixty (60) days after the award of the contract (DFARS 252.227-7018).
It is crucial that care and diligence be exercised in marking any proprietary information. If there are questions concerning the marking of proprietary information, please contact the Office of Legal Affairs.
Marking Proposals or Quotations (FAR 52.215-12)
Proposals containing GIT proprietary information should be marked in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation 52.215-12 prior to submission to federal government sponsors (whether or not they are DoD sponsors). The FAR 52.215-12 requirements include:
- Specific markings on the title page
- Specific markings on each page that contains proprietary information
Please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs for guidance on exact wording for the aforementioned markings.
Marking Computer Software
Generally computer software would not be delivered to a federal sponsor in connection with a proposal or quotation. The FAR does not specifically cover how computer software delivered in connection with a proposal to a government sponsor should be marked. In the unlikely event software is being delivered to the government in connection with a proposal, the Office of Legal Affairs should be contacted.
Marking Reports and Software
In the course of completing requirements resulting from a federally sponsored contract, reports and/or software may be requested as part of the contract deliverables, and these deliverables may contain proprietary information. The FAR and FAR supplements contain very specific guidelines on marking these items under a number of different circumstances. The markings vary depending on whether or not software is involved and are based upon the extent to which Georgia Tech grants or withholds certain rights to the proprietary information.
Procedures If Unmarked Proprietary Information Is Delivered to a Federal Sponsor
In the event proprietary information that does not contain the appropriate legends is delivered to a federal sponsor, remedies are available. Anyone discovering that unmarked proprietary information has been delivered to a federal sponsor should contact the Office of Legal Affairs immediately in order to take protective measures allowed under the federal regulations.