MTA Information

Material Transfer Agreements

A Material Transfer Agreement should be used when a researcher would like to either provide materials to an outside party or receive materials from an outside party.  An MTA defines the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of both the providing and receiving party regarding issues such as permitted use, ownership, publication, intellectual property, and liability.

All incoming and outgoing MTAs must be evaluated and signed by an authorized representative from the Technology Commercialization Office.

Please note:  Even if you have been asked to sign an MTA by another party and/or provided a signature line on the MTA, you cannot sign the MTA.

What is an MTA?

  • An MTA is a contract that allows one party to perform research using the materials of another party.
  • This agreement governs common issues such as allowable uses, transfer of rights, intellectual property rights, confidentiality, and liability.

When Are MTAs Necessary?

  • MTAs are needed whenever transferring or receiving materials  (whether it be within the public sector, or between the public and private sectors).
  • No more free sharing!

Why is an MTA important/necessary?

  • MTAs specify the rights, obligations and restrictions of both the providing and receiving parties with respect to issues such as:
    1. Ownership of materials and modifications or derivatives of the materials made by the recipient.
      • Provider will always retain ownership of original material.
      • Need to balance the rights of Provider and Recipient for modifications, derivatives, etc.
    2. Limits on the recipient’s use of the materials and related liability.
      • Provider should always include a specific permitted use (only for research purposes).
      • MTA should always include a length of permitted time for use of the material (term).
      • Provider should limit its liability for anything that happens during recipients’ use of the material.
      • Recipient needs to ensure it is not agreeing to terms that may be in conflict with its requirements under a sponsored research agreement, a grant, a fellowship, etc.
    3. Restrictions on recipient’s ability to transfer material, modifications, and    derivatives to third parties.
      • Provider needs to properly trace where valuable materials have gone to avoid losing control.
      • If no restrictions, recipient could further transfer to others who may publish before Provider has a chance to do so.
      • Provider wants to prevent recipient from making commercial use of the material without Provider’s knowledge.
    4. Rights to inventions resulting from the use of the materials.
      • Both parties need to protect their respective intellectual property interests.
      • Recipient needs to prevent Provider from asserting undue rights of ownership of any of Recipient’s discoveries.
      • Unauthorized use of patented material in Recipient’s research, even if received     directly from the developer of the material, could result in a patent infringement action      by developer’s university against Recipient Scientist and his or her institution.
      • Need to balance parties’ rights so that Provider can maintain the ability to conduct        future research related its own material.
    5. Rights to publish research obtained through the use of the materials.
      • Provider should not include terms that may restrict Recipient’s academic freedom.
      •  MTA should clearly state that the purpose of Provider’s review of publications is solely to: (1) allow Provider the opportunity to identify patentable inventions, and (2) ensure that the manuscript does not contain any of Provider’s proprietary information.
      • Recipient should agree to credit the materials as those of the Provider and acknowledge Provider in any publications.
    6. Reporting and confidentiality obligations.
      • MTA should allow for Provider to have access to the research results.
      • Research reports may describe patentable inventions and contain unpublished information, so they should be subject to confidentiality restrictions.

Click here to fill out the MTA Questionnaire
Please contact our office at 614-247-6633, or with questions.