Who Owns an Invention?
MIT owns inventions made by its employees while working under a grant or contract to MIT or making significant use of MIT resources. When in doubt, it is best to contact the TLO for advice.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Inventions and Proprietary Information Agreement
This Inventions and Proprietary Information Agreement form, in which MIT employees agree to assign to MIT those inventions that belong to MIT under our policy, must be completed by every MIT employee upon joining MIT. This form must be completed even if you have previously signed one as a student or as a former employee. When we receive your invention disclosure, if you somehow neglected to sign an IPIA, you must complete one before we will process your disclosure. When completed, submit this form to the TLO, Room NE18-501. If you have any questions, please contact us.
Ownership of inventions made while consulting
MIT does not assert ownership of inventions made while consulting for an outside company provided that none of the inventions were derived from or made with significant use of MIT funds or facilities. It is important to clearly define the scope of work within consulting contracts to minimize any issues with inventions from MIT research. If you have questions, the TLO is available for informal advice.
Disclosing other contributors
All contributors to the ideas leading to an invention should be mentioned in your disclosure, even if they are not MIT employees. The TLO, along with legal counsel, will determine the rights of such persons and institutions. It is prudent to discuss collaborations (preferably before they begin) with the TLO to understand the implications for any subsequent inventions.
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:
- Whether the invention was created by a student in a capacity as an MIT employee
- Whether the invention was created using MIT resources
- Whether the invention was created under a contract or grant to MIT
Any MIT employee or student may ask to assign his or her personally owned invention to MIT. If the TLO accepts the invention, it will be handled in the same manner as other MIT inventions, with the usual royalty-sharing arrangements.
The TLO cannot accept assignment of inventions from alumni or others outside current MIT students and employees except as pure donations, with no royalty sharing. Because of resource limitations for marketing inventions, donations can be accepted only rarely.
Ownership depends upon the employment status of the creators of the invention and their use of MIT facilities. Considerations include:
- What is the source of the funds or resources used to produce the invention?
- What was the employment status of the creators at the time the intellectual property was made?
- What are the terms of any agreement related to the creation of the intellectual property?
As a general rule, MIT owns inventions made by its employees while working under a grant or contract to MIT or using MIT resources. When in doubt, it is best to contact the TLO for advice.
All contributors to the ideas leading to a discovery should be mentioned in your disclosure, even if they are not MIT employees. The TLO, along with legal counsel, will determine the rights of such persons and institutions. It is prudent to discuss with the TLO all working relationships (preferably before they begin) to understand the implications for any subsequent inventions.