Intellectual Property (IP) includes but is not limited to research data and research materials and is an important asset to our University and our researchers. All Harvard Medical School Faculty, students, researchers, staff and collaborators have an obligation to manage, store and protect all research data, research materials, intellectual property and information.

The Harvard Office of Technology Development (OTD) provides extensive guidance around discovery disclosure and associated data management, security and sharing.   If you have concerns that your IP has been misused or stolen please contact OTD immediately at Protect IP by following good Data and Materials Management practices.

Harvard has a university-wide policy that governs the ownership and handling of intellectual property (IP) arising from research and other activities at Harvard.  Among other things, the policy defines which IP will be owned by Harvard and sets out the rights and obligations of Harvard researchers with respect to that IP.

The IP policy is applicable to all full- and part-time faculty, staff and employees, students, postdoctoral fellows and non-employees who use University funds, facilities or other resources, or participate in University-administered research, including visiting faculty, industrial personnel and fellows, regardless of obligations to other companies or institutions.

The University’s policy governing the ownership and disposition of intellectual property covers, but is not limited to, inventions, copyrights (including computer software), trademarks, and tangible research property such as biological materials. From time to time, advances in science and the arts may result in new structures of intellectual property protection. They shall be considered to fall within the Harvard IP policy to the extent practicable.

Harvard has the right to own and inventors shall assign (at Harvard’s request) their rights in any patentable or potentially patentable idea, discovery or know-how and any associated or supporting technology that is required for development or application of the idea, discovery or know-how conceived or reduced to practice by a person covered by this policy (whether alone or together with others) if conceived or reduced to practice in whole or in part:

1. Under or subject to an agreement between Harvard and a third party; or

2. With use of direct or indirect financial support from Harvard, including support or funding from any outside source awarded to or administered by Harvard; or

3. With use (other than incidental use) of space, facilities, materials or other resources provided by or through the University.

All individuals, to whom this policy applies, are required to notify the University’s Office of Technology Development (“OTD”) of each invention through the Online Innovation Reporting form.

Each person who conducts research at (or administered by) Harvard and/or who participates in any externally-supported studies or programs must sign a Participation Agreement which indicate that the individual agrees that they will abide with the terms of all Harvard policies and agreements that may apply to their work; and, with respect to IP developed through their Harvard activities, they agree to cooperate with the University’s representatives to protect the IP and will assign (or ‘deed’) to Harvard their rights in IP that Harvard is entitled to own.


Harvard University Intellectual Property Policy

Harvard Research Data Ownership Policy

Harvard University Office of Technology Development

Harvard Participation Agreements

Visitor Participation Agreement(s)

Participation Agreement and Visitor Participation Agreement Guidance