Exporting Technology and Software

Technical Data (aka technology) is defined as information which is required for the design, development, production, manufacture, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance or modification of an item. This includes information in the form of blueprints, drawings, photographs, plans, instructions or documentation (as well as many other forms).

Providing controlled technology (or software source code) to a foreign national in the United States or abroad is deemed to be an export of that technology to the country of citizenship or residence of said foreign national. For example, sharing design information on night vision goggles with a foreign national is an act which is subject to the same export restrictions and requirements as physically shipping those night vision goggles to the foreign national's home country.

An export occurs when there is a “release” of controlled technology (or software source code) to a foreign national.  “Release” is defined as:

  • Visual or other inspection by foreign persons of an item that reveals technology or software source code to a foreign person
  • Oral or written exchanges with foreign persons of technology or software source code in the United States or abroad

A “release” to a foreign national that takes place within the U.S. is known as a “Deemed Export”. As mentioned above, deemed exports are activities that are regulated in the same way that physical exports of tangible goods are; restrictions and requirements may apply.

Other ways to export data without actually sending the information abroad are:

  • Sharing controlled data at a conference anywhere in the world with foreign nationals present
  • Allowing a foreign national to observe how controlled goods are developed and/or produced
  • Providing instruction to a foreign national on how a controlled good is “used” (operation, installation, maintenance, and repair)
  • E-mailing controlled data to a foreign national located in the United States or abroad
  • Providing information to another person with the intention that the data or technology will be shared abroad or with a foreign national whether in the United States or not.


Exempt Technology

Note that the following types of technology are not subject to U.S. export controls and may be shared freely with any party:

  1. Technology that is already in the public domain
  2. Technology that is taught in catalog courses at Duke
  3. Technology that arises from Fundamental Research
Note:  Software is deemed to be in the public domain when the source code is published. Software that is designed for military, space, underwater, or controlled technologies will be controlled for export.