UW Research

Frequently-Asked Questions

Export Compliance FAQs

Manage Export Controls

I have created a patentable innovation that a company would like to review for IP licensing purposes. I want to share the details of this invention with the company but the company is located in Indonesia and I am not sure if I need an export control license.

You may need an export license depending on what it is and who is receiving it. The confidentiality agreement (CDA) or other instrument used to share the information should include specific language about export control laws and regulations and the parties respective responsibilities about exporting and re-exporting the material.

I will be traveling to China to do research work with my collaborator, who is a faculty member at a university in Beijing. I will be providing her with my research results from my studies here at UW but also undergoing further research at her lab. Do I need to be concerned about export controls?

Please check the CCL and USML to see whether your research involves controlled technology, information or software. If so, please contact exports@uw.edu to determine what your next step is in order to undergo the collaboration.
Your research results produced here at the University of Washington, if without publication or dissemination restrictions, are considered fundamental research results and fall under the fundamental research exclusion. However, further research efforts in China may or may not fall within this exclusion from the export control regulations.

I ship research supplies overseas on a regular basis. This includes lab supplies such as pipets, collection kits, various meters and regulators, and some communication devices. Do I need to check in with exports@uw.edu every time I ship these items?

No, however, your responsibility is to be aware of the type of items controlled by the EAR and ITAR and know whether your item is considered a commercial item or a defense article controlled by the CCL or USML.

Please check these lists and contact exports@uw.edu if you need help determining whether your items are controlled.

I have created a software system that is used on a closed-access system that requires a sign-in and password. Am I exporting this software and is it subject to the export control regulations?

If the software is non-encryption software and was created as fundamental research, it is excluded from the scope of the EAR and ITAR. It may be shared with others without obtaining an export license. However, it is advisable to not use a sign-in/password system unless a sign-in is available to everyone, as such a requirement may be considered an access control that disqualifies it from the exclusion.

Be aware that some types of encryption software fall outside the fundamental research exclusion require notification to the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Information and Security and may require a license.

I have a foreign post-doc student beginning next spring in my lab. Do I need to get an export control license to allow this student to work on my research projects?

Information arising from basic and applied research in science and engineering on campus, where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly with the scientific community, is excluded from the scope of the ITAR and EAR. This allows the University to proceed with fundamental research projects across campus and engage foreign students in the process without obtaining a deemed export license.

In addition to this exclusion, known as the fundamental research exclusion, there are two other exclusions that apply to common university information-sharing. The education exclusion allows Universities to teach common science and engineering principles as well as other types of educational material commonly taught in catalog courses and associated teaching laboratories to all students without the need for a license. In addition, information that is in the public domain is not subject to the ITAR and EAR.

If you plan to share information, technology, or software to the foreign student that does not fall into one of these exclusions (such as incoming proprietary information) then you should determine if it is controlled by the regulations. Please contact exports@uw.edu.

I am conducting research on campus with students and other faculty and don't plan to ship anything outside the United States. Do export controls affect me?

An “export” also includes furnishing technical data  or releasing technology or software to foreign nationals within the United States.  If the information being shared with the foreign national is subject to and listed on the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) Commerce Control List (CCL) or is considered technical data under the International Traffic in Arms (ITAR), you will need a license or other permission before providing.

I travel with my laptop, which I use for my project, "Genetic Mutation of Cancer Cells" here at UW. It contains my fundamental research results as well as commercial software. Do I need a license to travel with the laptop?

Keep in mind that most commercial software, though controlled, is not limited to most destinations and you may travel without the need for an export control license. However, if you have proprietary data, FOUO, or otherwise restricted data, information or software on your laptop, you will want to check that the information is not export controlled before traveling outside the United States.

Further guidance regarding travel with your laptop is found in the UW Researcher’s Guide for the Export of Computers, Software, and Associated Data.

I do a lot of national defense research work. As part of the work, I may receive data that is restricted. I intend to have several foreign students work with me on these projects. Does the fundamental research exclusion allowed me to have a foreign national work with this information?

No content for this tile. Make sure you wrap your content like this:

Content here

Incoming data with access restrictions associated with it do not qualify as fundamental research data.

Government restrictions  may or may not be considered export controlled, depending on whether the information/data is listed on either the Commerce Control List (CCL) or the United States Munitions List (USML). A review of the data against these lists would need to be carried out to determine whether you may allow foreign students to work the data.
Regardless of whether it is export controlled, all access restrictions and protection measures associated with the restricted information must be followed.  Such restrictions may be conveyed.

Before I decided to do a research project with my industry sponsor, I signed a Confidentiality Agreement promising to protect its proprietary information. Does this mean my research project involving this information is longer considered "fundamental research"?

Any publication restrictions beyond limited sponsor review to remove proprietary information or protect patentable data will render your project as outside the fundamental research exclusion. This is because your research results are no longer those that you can “ordinarily publish and share broadly” with the scientific community.

Any agreement legally binding the University may not be signed by a PI or other faculty member.   All CDAs, NDAs, PIAs, or other data restriction agreements should receive review by the appropriate office.

Review more information on managing export control.