Types of Material Transfer Agreements

There are three types of material transfer that commonly arise at academic institutions, each calling for different terms and conditions.

Material Transfer Between Academic Institutions

When academic researchers receive requests from colleagues for samples of research materials. Agency sponsors (primarily NIH) often require that research materials generated from funded research are made available to other researchers. To comply with federal sponsors' desire for easy access to research materials, the Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement (UBMTA) was developed. The UBMTA provides a record of the material transfer, and prohibits the recipient from transferring the material to others without the written consent of the material provider.

Material Transfer from Industry to UCLA

When a researcher at UCLA requires materials from a company. Academic researchers may seek industrial materials for their research, which will always be accompanied by an MTA. Because industry frequently has substantial investments and revenues at stake, an industrial MTA is usually more restrictive than a UBMTA. 

MTA's from industry often contain restrictive language in the areas of publication, patent rights, and licensing. Often, companies want the right to block or edit our right to publish, which contradicts the concept of academic freedom. 

In the area of patents, the company often wishes to own all rights - title and interest - to inventions arising from the use of the material; a position not acceptable to the University.

In the area of licensing, companies may ask for a royalty-free, exclusive or non-exclusive, license to our future patent rights giving us no incentive to file any patents on the work done with their material. 

In short, many of these agreements contain language that must be negotiated!

Material Transfer from UCLA to Industry

When companies request a research material from UCLA. Companies often request samples of research material.  These requests are handled in a few different ways, depending on the following: the material is not patentable, the material is currently patented by UCLA, or the material is not yet patented (or publicly disclosed) and is of possible commercial value.  These types of transfer are handled on a case-by-case basis.