Material Transfer and Confidentiality Agreements

Inventors who consider their work to be patentable should consult our office when presented with legal agreements relevant to their inventions. Among the legal forms we can help you with, the two most common are:

Material Transfer Agreements

University research projects often involve sharing samples and reagents with colleagues at other educational institutions and companies. Princeton University supports the transfer of materials. Often no formal agreement is required when sharing materials with academic colleagues. However, there are times when it is important to protect intellectual property rights by executing a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA).

MTAs are legal documents describing the rights and responsibilities of parties that are exchanging materials such as laboratory reagents, tissue specimens, prototypes and other items. An MTA covers issues such as ownership, publication, intellectual property, permitted use and liability.

We urge inventors to contact our Contracts Manager for advice on whether an MTA is appropriate for your project.

For biologic materials that do not require intellectual property protection, a simple form can be used. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1995 created the Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement (UBMTA). As a signatory to the UBMTA Master Agreement, Princeton University researchers can transfer materials by filling out a UBMTA Implementing Letter.

Certain restrictions apply to the transfer of human materials, live animals, and hazardous materials. Consult the appropriate University department prior to transferring these materials.

Confidentiality Disclosure Agreements (CDAs)

There are times in a research collaboration where you may be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. These agreements can be for one-way disclosures of information from a party to you, one way from you to a third party, or for the mutual exchange of information between the party. If you are either presented with this document or you feel it may be important to protect your research from further disclosure, please contact our Licensing Associates for assistance. Additionally, to protect your potential patent rights, you must keep confidential any inventions and discoveries with commercial potential prior to filing for patent protection. Our staff can draft these agreements and assist with any questions regarding protecting the confidentiality of your work or with agreements received from any third party.


Vincenza Diubaldi
Business & Contracts Manager
Office Phone

Engineering & Computer Science

Chris Wright
Head of Technology Transfer
Office Phone

Life Sciences & Chemistry

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