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Ownership of Intellectual Property

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 Technology Licensing Office for advice.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology Inventions and Proprietary Information Agreement

This form (in which M.I.T. employees agree to assign to M.I.T. those inventions which belong to M.I.T. under our policy) should have been completed by every M.I.T employee upon joining M.I.T. (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, we will ask you to sign one before processing your disclosure. When completed, submit this form to the Technology Licensing Office, Room NE18-501. If you have any questions, please call 253-6966.

Download a PDF version of the IPIA [PDF].

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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 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 Technology Licensing Office 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 Technology Licensing Office, 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 Technology Licensing Office to understand the implications for any subsequent inventions.

Student contributions
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
Personally owned

Assigning personally-owned Inventions 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 limitation for marketing inventions, donations can be accepted only rarely.