Practical Guide to Material Transfer Agreements

Of the many kinds of contract that universities encounter, material transfer agreements (“MTAs”) can be the most frustrating: often quite small documents, they can raise big issues in areas as diverse as intellectual property ownership, commercialisation strategy and liability.

It may be difficult to justify spending much time on negotiating them, but the consequences of ‘allowing an MTA through’ with inappropriate terms might – just might – be a major problem for the university. The various commercial and administration departments (e.g. Research Contracts, Technology Transfer, Business Services) responsible for MTAs are increasingly finding that they are devoting large amounts of time and resource on them. For ease of reference throughout this Practical Guide it is intended that the terms “contracts executives” or “contracts department” encompass all workers in the variously named commercial and administrative functions referred to above.

The purpose of this Practical Guide is three fold:

1 to provide an introduction to MTAs and their terms, including discussion of legal, practical and negotiating issues;

2 to provide some suggested templates together with guidelines concerning their completion;

3 to consider and discuss some underlying issues which are problematic or of particular concern for universities. 

To read more, download the attached document - this is a member-only resource: last updated 2014

Publication Date: 
Monday, December 1, 2014