Information for Students


MIT has a vibrant and supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the TLO encourages students interested in innovation and entrepreneurship to visit to our resources page to learn more about the many resources available to them.

Why contact the TLO?

As the office entrusted with the stewardship of the intellectual property created at MIT, the TLO often receives inquiries regarding ownership of intellectual property created by students. The policy for ownership of an invention developed by a student is the same as for any other member of the MIT community. It depends on:

  1. Whether the invention was created by a student in a capacity as an MIT employee
  2. Whether the invention was created using MIT resources
  3. Whether the invention was created under a contract or grant to MIT

If you have questions about interpretations of student ownership, please refer to the TLO Policy Guide, and contact the TLO for advice.

If you believe you may have an invention, whether you believe it is MIT owned or that you own it personally, please contact the TLO for guidance on the possibility, means and stages of development and commercialization.

How to contact the TLO?

Apart from general inquiries, the initial step in establishing contact with the TLO is usually the submission of a MIT Technology Disclosure Form.

When submitted, the Technology Disclosure Form will initiate action by the TLO to investigate the patenting (or other methods of protection) and marketing of the technology unless accompanied by a letter requesting other action by MIT, such as a waiver of MIT's ownership rights in the technology. 


How does MIT treat my thesis/dissertation?

Under MIT Policy, MIT owns an Institute copyright to student theses and dissertations. In addition, MIT Libraries may place a “hold” on your thesis/dissertation (making it not publically available) for 6 months in order to protect an invention.

Students may request a waiver of Institute copyright for their thesis by written application [PDF] to the TLO. Please note that any such waiver of the Institute’s copyright shall be subject to a royalty-free grant from the student to the Institute to publicly distribute copies of the thesis, in whole or in part.