It seems natural to expect that in exchange for an SBIR grant the government should gain something in return. Indeed, the government does gain rights in the innovations fostered through such a grant, but an SBIR effort is unlike a similar transaction in the commercial sector.
A recurring concern voiced by small or emerging companies working in the government marketplace is, “How do I effectively protect my IP when I’m forced to work with large prime contractors?” A threat is perceived that a prime contractor will take or steal the IP from a subcontractor (small company) to eliminate competition or capture leverage with the government and that the government turns a blind eye to such actions.
You have to know the rules to win the game, especially when the rules change… often. In 2013, the movie Captain Philips told the true story of the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama. In April 2009, the Maersk Alabama cargo ship was attacked and captured by four Somali pirates less than 300 nautical miles off the Coast of Somalia. The Maersk Alabama recognized the threat yet had little ability to repel the assault.
Innovation and new technology are often synonymous. Scientists, tech company founders, engineers, technologists and inventors alike all innovate. Each, in their own way, is a problem solver striving to address a technical problem with a technical solution.