NewSpace India not to transfer ISRO’s space tech to individuals

The NewSpace India Ltd, the commercial arm of Department of Space (DoS) will not transfer space technologies developed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to individuals, states the Revised Technology Transfer Policy Guidelines states.

In the case of transfer of dual use technology, the licencee should ensure that adequate norms stipulated by Government of India for export of dual use technology is followed and appropriate clearances obtained.

According to the draft policy, cost of technology development will be done on marginal costing basis-expenses that would not be incurred had not the technology development been undertaken.

It is New Space India’s mandate to actively pursue technology transfer so that benefits of the space programme are transferred to Indian industries, both public and private sector.

As per the draft policy, an individual, who is desirous of starting a new business or setting up an industry with ISRO technology must get the firm registered as per the provisions of law.

However, in such cases, flexibility shall be shown while evaluating the technical, managerial, infrastructure and financial strength of the industry. Reasonable time shall be provided for realising technology absorption and productionisation, the policy states.

As per the revised policy for which DoS has sought public comments by Dec 23, 2020, NewSpace India shall take utmost precaution and care for selection of prospective licensees for dual use technology transfers.

While technology transfers are primarily focused on the domestic use transfers to foreign organisations are also to be encouraged as per central government’s guidelines.

“However, such request shall be reviewed and processed on a case to case basis and the term of licensing shall be arrived at considering the merits of organisation, intellectual value of the technology and its commercial potential etc,” the revised policy notes.

While requests for technology transfer in case of an already licensed technology shall be forwarded to the licencee, as regards technology transfer from NewSpace India to foreign organization/ industry is concerned, such requirements shall be dealt on a case to case basis, with necessary approval of Ministry of Commerce through DoS.

The terms for licensing of software shall be arrived by NewSpace India in consultation with software experts from ISRO/DoS. Terms of software licensing shall be decided on a case to case basis without involving the source code of development.

Technological advances in space technology are undertaken through advanced research and development (R&D) programmes including in-house technology development projects or through various collaborative schemes with academic institutions of repute.

As to the process of identification of technologies that are ready to be transferred, the policy states a dedicated Technology Transfer Cell (TTC) within ISRO centre may be identified with, laid down responsibilities for end to end coordination, both within the organisation, i.e., the inventors, quality and testing teams and the potential licensee to ensure successful commercialisation of ‘technologies for maximal exploitation’.

While the centre may have its own structure for picking up the technologies, it must be ensured that such technologies maturity is assessed by rigorous screening process involving reliability testing quality certification, repeatability in in-house usage and proven worthiness.

According to the policy, the eventual success/ failure of the technology transfer might have impact on ISRO’s image.

Therefore, the decision to admit a candidate to transferable technology should be based on test and evaluation results quality certification and others. The assessment must focus on commercial viability and strategic considerations amongst other things as detail, states the revised policy.

The technologies that are approved for transfer by DoS will be transferred to NewSpace through an internal agreement/Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between above two organisations.

The NewSpace India will then transfer the technologies to licensee with a technical support extended by ISRO towards handholding and training the industry for ensuring the technology transfer.

The NewSpace India will fix the licensee fee and other charges as per NSIL company guidelines.

In case of technologies developed under ISRO guidance, then the first right of refusal for technology transfer shall be given to the industrial partner of the space agency.

The DoS shall decide on the incubation opportunities for start-ups and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) either by itself or ISRO supported or encouraged incubation.

As regards transfer of technology to non-governmental organisations (NGO), non-profitable organisations (NPO) or community based organisations (CBO) NewSpace India need not pay any fee to DoS. The NewSpace India shall transfer technology on non-exclusive basis to such organisations with suitable rebates in licensing fee/royalty.

However, NewSpace India may not commit any funding or investment from its side for successful application of such technology.