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Intellectual Property

For more information about patenting, or questions about MIT ownership of intellectual property, please visit the MIT Technology Licensing Office.

Intellectual property produced by teams entering the MIT IDEAS program remains your own, unless other agreements have been entered into voluntarily by your team, which may include assignment of your intellectual property to MIT. If you have questions about whether MIT may have rights to your intellectual property, contact the MIT Technology Licensing Office. Please note that by participating in activities like the IDEAS competition, you may impact your future ability to protect your invention. IDEAS takes no part in and has no liability for the domestic or international intellectual property rights of competition participants. Participants are responsible for the protection of their own intellectual property outside the limited scope of submission to the IDEAS program and evaluation by its Reviewers. Participants must keep confidential information confidential. The confidentiality extends to exchange of ideas among different teams.
The only individuals who will have access to your proprietary information are volunteers, staff, judges, and mentors (“Reviewers”) assigned to evaluate your entry. These Reviewers include other students, alumni, professors, entrepreneurs, investors, professionals, and industry experts who have agreed to maintain confidentiality of all entries and proprietary information. We have asked them to treat your work product with the same care and respect for confidentiality.

However, any information available to the public on your public profile through the IDEAS Social Innovation Challenge or otherwise publicly disclosed by you will not be considered proprietary or confidential.
For guidance, be sure to speak with MIT’s Technology Licensing Office.

In general, managing intellectual property is important to the short and long-term success of your team. Filing for Intellectual Property protection – a patent – can be a lengthy and costly exercise, and isn’t always necessary depending on your goals. Before going starting the process, determine your goals for the invention and whether it is in your interest to patent the technology.

Here are three basic considerations:
  • Background search. Investigate the strength of your claim by researching prior art. You can use PatentScout to conduct your own patent search.
  • Who can claim IP? Who on your team will be is responsible for the innovation, and how will ownership be shared?
  • Does it make sense to file a patent? What is your dissemination strategy and is it in the best interest of your goals to patent?