15 U.S.C. § 3719 - Prize competitions

Cite as:15 U.S.C. § 3719
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-21 (6/12/2019)

(a) Definitions

In this section:

(1) Agency

The term "agency" means a Federal agency.

(2) Director

The term "Director" means the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

(3) Federal agency

The term "Federal agency" has the meaning given under section 3703 of this title, except that term shall not include any agency of the legislative branch of the Federal Government.

(4) Head of an agency

The term "head of an agency" means the head of a Federal agency.

(b) In general

Each head of an agency, or the heads of multiple agencies in cooperation, may carry out a program to award prizes competitively to stimulate innovation that has the potential to advance the mission of the respective agency.

(c) Prize competitions

For purposes of this section, a prize competition may be 1 or more of the following types of activities:

(1) A point solution prize that rewards and spurs the development of solutions for a particular, well-defined problem.

(2) An exposition prize competition that helps identify and promote a broad range of ideas and practices that may not otherwise attract attention, facilitating further development of the idea or practice by third parties.

(3) Participation prize competitions that create value during and after the competition by encouraging contestants to change their behavior or develop new skills that may have beneficial effects during and after the competition.

(4) Such other types of prize competitions as each head of an agency considers appropriate to stimulate innovation that has the potential to advance the mission of the respective agency.

(d) Topics

In selecting topics for prize competitions, the head of an agency shall consult widely both within and outside the Federal Government, and may empanel advisory committees.

(e) Advertising

The head of an agency shall widely advertise each prize competition to encourage broad participation.

(f) Requirements and registration

For each prize competition, the head of an agency shall publish a notice on a publicly accessible Government website, such as www.challenge.gov [File Link Not Available], announcing-

(1) the subject of the prize competition;

(2) the rules for being eligible to participate in the prize competition;

(3) the process for participants to register for the prize competition;

(4) the amount of the cash prize purse or non-cash prize award; and

(5) the basis on which a winner will be selected.

(g) Eligibility

To be eligible to win a cash prize purse under this section, an individual or entity-

(1) shall have registered to participate in the prize competition under any rules promulgated by the head of an agency under subsection (f);

(2) shall have complied with all the requirements under this section;

(3) in the case of a private entity, shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States, and in the case of an individual, whether participating singly or in a group, shall be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States; and

(4) may not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment.

(h) Consultation with Federal employees

An individual or entity shall not be deemed ineligible under subsection (g) because the individual or entity used Federal facilities or consulted with Federal employees during a prize competition if the facilities and employees are made available to all individuals and entities participating in the prize competition on an equitable basis.

(i) Liability

(1) In general

(A) Definition

In this paragraph, the term "related entity" means a contractor or subcontractor at any tier, and a supplier, user, customer, cooperating party, grantee, investigator, or detailee.

(B) Liability

Registered participants shall be required to agree to assume any and all risks and waive claims against the Federal Government and its related entities, except in the case of willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from their participation in a prize competition, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise.

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