Ask Patents is a question and answer site for people interested in improving and participating in the patent system. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

does the government pay royalties to patent holders?

Is there a special process or formality for the US government or other governments under its umbrella to pay royalties or compensate a patent holder?

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Each government is different on this point. In general, governments claim sovereign immunity against lawsuits. However, many government, including the US, have waived sovereignty as to certain issues, including patent infringement.

In the US, the particular statute on point is 28 U.S.C. § 1498. That statute provides that a patentee can sue the United States in the Court of Federal Claims for the recovery its "reasonable and entire compensation" when the US Government uses a patented invention without license. Just today, I received a note from the US Department of Justice because they are looking to hire more patent litigators to defend these section 1498 lawsuits. Outside of a lawsuit, each US agency typically handles its own licensing and are often willing to take a license when infringement is clear.

In the US, each of the 50-states are also considered sovereign, and it turns out to be much more difficult to sue a state in Federal Court. Here, the 11th Amendment to the US Constitution is also on point. Thus, state universities regularly claim sovereign immunity when sued for patent infringement.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.