Inventions and Proprietary Information Agreement (IPIA)

What is the IPIA?

The IPIA is a contract between an individual and MIT that transfers ownership of Intellectual Property from an individual inventor to MIT, consistent with MIT’s Policies. It is required for MIT’s compliance with federal regulations and research contracts that all persons having an opportunity to participate in research at MIT have a current IPIA on file with the Technology Licensing Office (TLO). All questions regarding the IPIA can be directed to the TLO.

Institute Compliance

Consistent with federal regulations (35 U.S.C. § 206 (the “Bayh-Dole Act”), 37 CFR 401), sponsored research obligations, and MIT IP Policy, everyone who can participate in research at MIT (i.e., faculty, research staff, and students) must sign the IPIA.

Undergraduates participating in certain Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) projects or funded courses might be required to sign the IPIA and should contact the TLO with any questions or to discuss this requirement. 

Persons who have signed an IPIA that was drafted prior to April 10, 2010 must sign an updated version. Individuals moving from a postdoctoral or student appointment to a visiting or affiliate appointment must sign the appropriate Visitor IPIA.

IF AN INDIVIDUAL’S IPIA IS NOT ON FILE BEFORE A RESEARCH PROJECT BEGINS, MIT IS IN DEFAULT OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS AND OTHER FUNDING OBLIGATIONS.

Assertion of Ownership

Per the IPIA, MIT would own an inventor’s intellectual property in limited circumstances. Visit our page on invention ownership to learn more.

Obligations

The IPIA contains certain obligations of which all signers should be aware. Learn more here.

HOW TO SIGN

Faculty, staff (including visitors, research affiliates and fellows, and Media Lab), graduate students (including Media Lab), and undergraduates may sign the IPIA via Atlas (MIT certificates required). Visitors and research affiliates will be prompted to print their signed form and present it to their home institution or employer for their signature (usually an authorized signatory, counsel, or Tech Transfer Office equivalent).

Visiting students must sign the Visitor IPIA.

Individuals participating in specific research initiatives or undergraduates participating in specific funded courses might be asked to sign an IPIA unique to that circumstance. Contact the TLO for more information.

INFORMATION FOR MIT ADMINISTRATORS

ORIENTATION

The Atlas New Hire and Atlas New Graduate Student Activities portals present the IPIA to all persons, except visiting students and undergraduates (see below), at orientation. Once signed, the IPIA is sent directly to the individual and to the TLO with a notification to the department’s HR Primary Contact and, as appropriate, Graduate Administrator. If your DLC does not use Atlas for its onboarding practices, it is expected that you will incorporate the IPIA into your own orientation program. 

The IPIA is not a required Atlas application--the TLO relies on DLC Administrative Officers and HR Administrators to ensure compliance. The IPIA application is available outside of orientation via the full Atlas catalog (MIT certificates required). 

VISITING STUDENTS

Visiting students’ IPIA forms must be collected by the DLC at the time of onboarding. The International Students Office (ISO) does make all international visiting students aware of the requirement, but the IPIA must ultimately be collected by the DLC. 

UNDERGRADUATES

All undergraduates in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) who might participate in projects using significant funds or facilities whether for pay, credit, or volunteer should sign the IPIA. Please collect these forms before the student project proposal receives faculty approval and submit to the TLO.

Undergraduates participating in certain funded courses (such as Beaver Works capstone projects) might also be required to sign the IPIA and should contact the TLO for more information.

MINORS

Interns or students who are under 18 must also have the Minor IPIA form signed by their parent or legal guardian.

SPONSORED RESEARCH ALLIANCES

Certain sponsored research agreements contemplate that a visitor (e.g., a visiting scientist or company employee) shall sign an IPIA unique to that sponsor. If you believe this applies to you, please contact the TLO with the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) account number of the alliance.