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The ‘America's Next Top Energy Innovator' Challenge will begin on May 2.

That means that starting on Monday, and continuing through December 15, entrepreneurs and start-up companies will be able to apply for any of the Department of Energy's 15,000 unlicensed patents at a greatly reduced cost and with much less paperwork.

Since Secretary Chu announced the challenge at the end of March our phones have been ringing and our email inboxes have been piling up with questions about how everything will work -- so we've compiled a short powerpoint document that answers the most commonly asked questions.

  • Does my company qualify?
  • How extensive does the business plan need to be?
  • Are other government agencies also participating?
  • Are universities eligible?
  • How will the Department of Energy handle multiple inquiries for the same technology?
  • Is there an advantage to applying early?
  • Can I obtain more than one Option?
  • Who can I contact if I run into any issues while applying for the program?
  • Will all program participants get to present at ARPA-E?
  • What will the ultimate license terms be?
  • Will an Option affect my eligibility for other Department of Energy programs?

Check out the answers to these questions and more and be the first to apply on May 2!

Ginny Simmons is a New Media Specialist with the Office of Public Affairs.