Government agencies and government laboratories provide standards, regulations, business statistics, research, funding, and technical information. In the United States, examples include the FDA, FCC, OSHA, FTC, NSF, NASA, and USDA. Some government agencies and government laboratories help businesses use technology to develop new products. For example, the National Science Foundation (NSF) promotes the advancement of science by funding research about alternative energy. Spin-offs from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) research include developments in computer technology, health and medicine, and manufacturing technologies. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) helped to develop Internet protocols.
Government agencies and government laboratories perform many different regulatory functions. In the United States, the mission of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is to protect the health of American workers by setting and enforcing safety standards and performing on-site inspections. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tests prescription medications for safety and effectiveness before pharmaceutical companies make these drugs available to the public. The purpose of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is to promote agricultural trade and production, assure food safety, and protect natural resources. Government agencies and laboratories such as the USDA develop and execute many policies regarding food and farming.
In the United States, government agencies and government laboratories include the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The FCC regulates broadcast communications from television and radio stations. It also has regulatory oversight of new technologies such as satellite and microwave communications. The FTC regulates business practices, enforces antitrust laws, and stops unfair trade practices. The USPTO is an agency of the Department of Commerce (DOC) which allows individuals and businesses to protect their intellectual property. A patent is the grant of a property right to an inventor for 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed. In some cases, other government agencies and laboratories may be involved in the patent process.