Guidelines: Licensing and Ownership of Intellectual Property Created in a UROP Project
It is common for UROP students to conduct research under a sponsored research agreement or making significant use of Institute-administered funds, space, or facilities. In such cases, inventions created in the performance of such research are owned by the Institute, and UROP student inventors will be asked to sign MIT’s Invention and Proprietary Information Agreement. In the event that MIT takes title and the invention is licensed and commercialized, the student inventor will be entitled to receive a share of MIT's royalties, if any.
When research work is done off-campus, it must be supervised by an MIT faculty member and cannot be at or for a private corporation or commercial entity, even a startup, to qualify as a UROP project. Invention ownership rights would typically be determined in accordance with the terms of the applicable written agreement between the student and the off-campus entity. Off-campus research agreements may provide that ownership of inventions by an MIT student resides with a sponsor other than MIT. If your UROP work is taking place off-campus and you are asked to sign agreements related to ownership of inventions, before signing and before starting your work you are strongly advised to bring the document to UROP staff in 7-104 for further review.
Off-campus research agreements may also determine the ownership of copyrights in original material authored by MIT students doing such off-campus research. Again, agreements given to UROP students to sign by a non-MIT organization should first be reviewed by UROP staff.
UROP students should review MIT’s Intellectual Property policies relating to significant use of MIT-administered resources (http://web.mit.edu/policies/13/13.1.html#sub2) to determine ownership of inventions, including software, created in a UROP project.
Patenting an Invention
There are a number of routes open to those interested in patenting an invention. You may, subject to the limitations otherwise found in this policy statement, retain ownership and pay the legal costs yourself, or you may choose to relinquish ownership to MIT through the Technology Licensing Office (TLO), which will undertake the patenting costs and attempt to license the invention. As an inventor, you will be entitled to receive one third of the net royalties. Sometimes special arrangements can be made that permit MIT inventors to work with students at the Franklin Pierce Law Center to pursue patent protection and licensing as a co-venture.
UROP students interested in patents, confidentiality, and copyright issues may wish to consult the TLO publication, Guide to the Ownership, Distribution and Commercial Development of MIT Technology, available online, and consult with TLO at NE25-230, x3-6966.
Publishing Research Articles
It is not uncommon for UROP students to contribute to research articles. If you plan to publish an article about your UROP research, or discuss your research with a journalist, you must get prior approval from your faculty supervisor. For more information, contact UROP staff in Room 7-104.