“Excuse me, can you repeat that? What does that mean?”

“Excuse me, can you repeat that? What does that mean?”

Dec 10, 2013

Technology transfer is like any other field with a host of its own unique terms and acronyms, all designed to confuse and intimidate those not in the know.  Confusion is not really the intention, but it's the look I often receive when one of these terms slips into a conversation.  Particularly when speaking with people outside UNHInnovation (UNHI), the conversation is frequently interrupted by a request for clarification.  In an effort to bridge this gap and get everyone on the same page, we’ll start small and over the course of several blogs begin to create a glossary for some of the different terms, acronyms, agreements, and phrases frequently used in technology transfer and licensing activities.    

MTA (Material Transfer Agreement; /research/material-transfer-agreements-mtas):  MTAs govern the exchange of research tools between colleagues at different universities, institutions, or companies.  Research is frequently a collaborative effort with colleagues from multiple geographically-diverse institutions sharing tools and techniques.  An MTA is a formal contract that defines proper use and designates specific limitations or obligations for using these tools.  Shared tools can include:  reagents, cell lines, antibodies, computer software, nano-materials, etc.  It is very important to execute an MTA before any research material is sent or received because an MTA ensures that there is a clear understanding of intellectual property ownership and puts all parties on the same page regarding obligations and responsibilities surrounding the exchange. 

UNH, along with approximately 508 other institutions around the world, is a signatory to the UBMTA (Uniform Biological Materials Transfer Agreement), a standardized MTA that allows materials to be transferred between UBMTA signatories upon execution of a simple implementation letter for a particular exchange.  This has drastically sped up the process of exchanging materials as signatory institutions no longer need to negotiate terms for each exchange. 

CDA or NDA (Confidentiality Agreement or Non-Disclosure Agreement):  CDAs or NDAs are agreements that outline the exchange of confidential information between two parties.  The agreement will define what information may be considered confidential, how and with whom the information may be shared, and what information should be restricted from other parties.  These agreements allow parties to discuss details of their business and inventions without the fear of making important information public. 

At UNH, one example of when an NDA/CDA might be necessary is a collaborating research partner from industry who needs to disclose information that is not publicly available to researchers in order to move a project forward.   Among other concerns, UNHI negotiates NDAs/CDAs on behalf of the UNH community to ensure compliance with UNH’s IP Policy and its Openness in Research Policy.  It’s also important to note that while the researcher is the custodian of any received confidential information and responsible for its safekeeping, UNHI must sign all NDA/CDAs in order to bind the University to its terms. 

If you have need for an MTA or NDA/CDA or are asked to sign one, contact one of the UNHI licensing managers:

Maria Emanuel at maria.emanuel@unh.edu or (603)862-4377 for College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (to include Thompson School), Paul College, and UNH Manchester

Tim Willis at timothy.willis@unh.edu or (603)862-0948 for College of Health and Human Services, College of Liberal Arts, Cooperative Extension, and the Institute on Disability

Tristan Carrier at tristan.carrier@unh.edu or (603)862-2022 for College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (to include CCOM, EOS, & Marine School) and the InterOperability Laboratory

Stay tuned for discussions of other terms in future blog posts, including:  MOU, IIA, IP Rights Agreement, License Agreement, Provisional Patent, Utility Patent, Design Patent, PCT, intent to use, use, and other Trademark specific lingo that often cause confusion. For questions about this blog post, please contact me at tristan.carrier@unh.edu.

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