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Guiding Principles Regarding Student Intellectual Property Rights

MIT Policy 13.1 defines intellectual property (“IP”) as “patentable inventions, mask works, tangible research property, trademarks, and copyrightable works, including software.” The chart below outlines (download PDF) guiding principles that are intended to help you understand under what circumstances you may or may not have rights to IP.  However, issues of IP ownership are always fact-specific and this chart is not intended to address all scenarios.

For questions about a specific IP ownership issue, please contact tlo-ipia@mit.edu.

Who Owns the IP?

FOR UNDERGRADUATES

Curricular Courses
Student owned

Exceptions: Certain capstone courses such as Beaver Works; UROPs for credit

Work done as a Research Assistant or Teaching Assistant
MIT owned

MIT Hackathons
Student owned

Maker Spaces
Student owned

Exceptions: Using government property, such as equipment or materials purchased by the government, in Lincoln Beaver Works Center (NE45-202); Using a Maker Space to build upon or improve existing MIT-owned IP

Exempt Programs
Student owned

Exceptions: Building upon or improving existing MIT-owned IP; Making significant use of MIT facilities**; Working with non-MIT collaborators

UROPs On Campus
MIT owned

Exceptions: If UROP is not sponsored research and UROP is not making significant use of MIT funds or facilities

UROPs Off campus and Non-MIT Hackathons
Usually owned by the third party, not the student (could be negotiated)

Sponsored Research
MIT owned

FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS

Curricular Courses
Student owned

Work done as a Research Assistant or Teaching Assistant
MIT owned

MIT Hackathons
Student owned

Maker Spaces
Student owned

Exceptions: Using government property, such as equipment or materials purchased by the government, in Lincoln Beaver Works Center (NE45-202); Using a Maker Space to build upon or improve MIT-owned IP

Exempt Programs
Student owned

Exceptions: Building upon or improving existing MIT-owned IP; Making significant use of MIT facilities; Working with non-MIT collaborators

UROPs On Campus
N/A

UROPs Off campus and Non-MIT Hackathons
N/A

Sponsored Research
MIT owned

 

* All graduate students must sign the Inventions and Proprietary Information Agreement (IPIA).

Undergraduate students must sign the IPIA in these circumstances.

** Learn more about significant use of MIT-administered resources. (See https://policies.mit.edu/policies-procedures/130-information-policies/131-intellectual-property#13.1.2)

◊ Exempt programs include: Delta V, DesignX, Sandbox. (See https://research.mit.edu/research-policies-and-procedures#ip)