IPIA Obligations for Inventors

Federal regulations and sponsored research contracts don’t merely assume that the Inventions and Proprietary Information Agreement (IPIA) will be signed—they assume that inventors will comply with the obligations outlined in that contract. For example, federal regulations require inventors to report inventions conceived during federal research projects to the Technology Licensing Office (TLO) and to sign any paperwork necessary to patent that invention. The IPIA codifies those obligations. 

The IPIA obligates individual inventors to: 

  • disclose certain inventions to the TLO;
  • assign ownership of such inventions to MIT;
  • execute all papers necessary to enable MIT to maintain legal protection for such inventions;
  • make available papers and other records that might be required for MIT to protect such inventions; 
  • not disclose a third party’s confidential information to MIT (such as the trade secret of a previous employer); and 
  • not enter into competing assignment agreements with third parties.

Federal funding contracts specifically require MIT to promptly report any inventions developed during a federal research project; many of our industrial and foundation sponsors expect similar regular reporting. This makes the obligation to disclose inventions particularly important. 

Inventors should be aware that it is critical to execute any papers (such as the IPIA, an invention disclosure, or a patent assignment) relevant to confirming the assignment of an invention to MIT, particularly in the context of a patent filing. Without proper signatures on invention disclosure and assignment documents, it might become impossible for MIT to protect that invention.

Any questions regarding these obligations should be directed to the TLO.

If you have questions regarding an invention disclosure or the TLO’s management of intellectual property, please see our disclosure FAQ or contact the TLO.