Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Tech Ombuds

Technology Transfer Ombuds-Person Objective

The purpose of LLNL's Industry Technology Transfer Ombuds-Person is to provide an independent, impartial person, reporting to senior LLNL management, who can assist in informally resolving technology transfer issues or concerns when it is clear that outside help is need. The Technology Transfer Ombuds-Person can receive, investigate, and facilitate resolution of complaints from licensees, R&D partners, companies or individuals who raise concerns or disputes related to the technology transfer process(referred to herein as the Ombuds' "constituent"). The Technology Transfer Ombuds-Person does not replace normal processes or other means of resolving issues, but is intended to provide a complementary resource when an impasse has been reached in the normal course of business.


Technology Transfer Ombuds-Person Responsibilities

The Technology Transfer Ombuds-Person's responsibility is to serve as an independent facilitator rather than an advocate for either party and is not authorized to make binding decisions for LLNL.

  • serve as a focal point for the constituent defined above to understand their issues and assist in a mutually satisfactory resolution of complaints and disputes;
  • promote the use of collaborative complaint and dispute resolution techniques, where appropriate;
  • report to LLNL senior management and to the DOE annually on the number and nature of complaints and disputes and their resolution, while protecting confidentiality as required.

The Technology Transfer Ombuds Process

Information about LLNL's Technology Transfer Ombuds-Person will be displayed prominently on the Laboratory's web site with a description of the role, types of issues to be addressed, and contact information. This same information will be provided to all existing licensees and CRADA partners.

Although it is expected that the Technology Transfer Ombuds-Person will respond to most requests, there may be times when the Ombuds-Person may not agree to assist a requester. If, for example, the complaint regards disagreement with a law, federal regulation, or DOE or Lawrence Livermore National Security policy, the requester will be referred elsewhere as appropriate.

It is anticipated that many complaints received by the Technology Transfer Ombuds-Person may require working with a variety of LLNL organizations to investigate the particulars of the dispute or complaint.


Confidentiality

The Technology Transfer Ombuds-Person is authorized to receive confidential concerns or complaints from the constituent defined above. The constituent will be informed that since, it is in general very difficult to resolve issues without involvement of all parties, the Technology Transfer Ombuds-Person's ability to address problems might be limited by the degree of confidentiality requested. The Technology Transfer Ombuds-Person may withdraw from investigation of a complaint, which in his or her opinion, cannot be addressed if confidentiality is maintained at the level requested by the constituent.


The Ombuds Association Code of Ethics

The Ombudsman will follow the Ombudsman Association Code of Ethics:

  • The ombudsman, as a designated neutral, has the responsibility of maintaining strict confidentiality concerning matters that are brought to his/her attention unless given permission to do otherwise. The only exceptions, at the sole discretion of the ombudsman, are where there appears to be imminent threat of serious harm.
  • The ombudsman must take all reasonable steps to protect any records and files pertaining to confidential discussions from inspection by all other persons, including management.
  • The ombudsman should not testify in any formal judicial or administrative hearing about concerns brought to his/her attention.
  • When making recommendations, the ombudsman has the responsibility to suggest actions or policies that will be equitable to all parties.

For further information contact the Technology Transfer Ombuds-Person:

Ron Schmucker

Phone: 925-423-8068

E-mail: schmucker1@llnl.gov