In 1980, Congress enacted the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act to encourage federal laboratories to `spin off' their technology to industry, universities, and state and local governments. The law reflected Congressional concern for the economic well-being of the nation and the need for the United States to maintain its technological superiority. Almost half the nation's research is conducted in federal laboratories. Other legislation, the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 and the National Cooperative Research Act of 1984, was followed by the Technology Transfer Act of 1986 that strengthened and consolidated policy concerning the technology transfer responsibilities of the federal labs. The law allows the labs to directly license their patents and permits the issuance of exclusive licenses. It allows the labs to enter into cooperative research and development agreements with industry, universities, and state and local governments. It institutionalized the Federal Laboratory consortium which, to that point in time, had been a formal but largely unrecognized body. Under the provisions of the law, the United States Air Force Rome Laboratory located in Rome, New York, as the Air Force lead laboratory in photonics research entered into an agreement with the Governor of the State of New York to collaborate in photonics research and development. Subsequent to that agreement, the state established the not-for-profit New York State Photonics Development Corporation in Rome to facilitate business access to Rome Laboratory's photonics research facilities and technologies. Rome Laboratory's photonics research and development program is described in this paper. The Technology Transfer Act of 1986 is summarized, and the roles and missions of the New York State Photonics Development Corporation is explained.