Industrial Contracts Office
1705 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
ico@stanford.edu

FOR INDUSTRY – FAQs

Confidentiality Agreements (NDAs)

Equipment Loans

Human Tissue Transfer Agreements

Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs)

Sponsored Research Agreements (SRAs)

 

Material Transfer Agreements

Who can sign an MTA?

ICO has signature authority on behalf of Stanford to sign MTAs.  PIs also sign incoming MTAs to acknowledge that they have read, understood and will uphold their obligations under the agreement. When PIs send their laboratory materials to other entities (except for human tissues, human stem cells and CIRM-funded materials), they are not required to use an MTA.  However, if they choose to use an MTA, they may personally sign the outgoing MTA and ICO does not need to sign it.

Who should I contact if I have questions about my company’s MTA?

Please call us at 650-723-0651, or email us at ico@stanford.edu

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Human Tissue Transfer Agreements

How much does it cost to receive human tissues from Stanford?

Stanford charges its costs of collecting and shipping human tissue.  Costs vary based on the type of specimen.

We would like to conduct research with a Stanford researcher and have him/her collect human specimens from a specific population of patients for the research.  Should we do a human tissue transfer agreement? 

No. This would be sponsored research, as there is a research component for the Stanford researcher and a cost to collect the tissues.  Please see Sponsored Research Agreements for more information. 

We would like to have a Stanford researcher collect human specimens from a specific population of patients for our research.  The Stanford researcher will NOT participate in our research.  We are willing to pay for the tissues. Should we do a human tissue transfer agreement? 

No. Unless the Stanford researcher is involved in the research, the transfer of human tissues to a company for its research purposes, with or without a fee, is not allowed.

Who should I contact if I have questions about a Human Tissue Transfer Agreement?

Please call us at 650-723-0651, or email us at ico@stanford.edu. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Sponsored Research Agreements

Is the Principal Investigator considered a party to the SRA?

No.  The SRA is between Stanford and the company.  The PI signs only to acknowledge that s/he has read and understands the SRA and agrees to use reasonable efforts to uphold his/her obligations set forth therein.

Is there a minimum amount of funding required to receive intellectual property rights?

No.

Can I get a waiver or a reduction in Stanford’s standard indirect cost rate?

No.  The indirect cost rate is not negotiable.

Can my company own the results of the research?

The University owns intellectual property created under sponsored research projects.  Companies sponsoring research can receive rights to the intellectual property in the form of a limited-term option to a license. See Section 9 of the Sponsored Research Agreement Template.

Can I approve publications resulting from the research?

No.  Stanford is a research and educational institution whose investigators must be able to publish freely.  See Stanford Policy on Openness in Research.  You may review manuscripts before they are publicly disclosed in order to identify your confidential information and to seek protection for inventions disclosed in the publications.
Given that my company is paying for the research, the two answers above do not seem reasonable. Why isn’t sponsored research more like a work for hire?
Under University policy, Stanford takes title to inventions created here.  This is consistent with federal research funding laws. Stanford does not enter into work for hire research agreements.  Any agreement that Stanford enters into must be in line with the university’s missions of teaching and research. 
Can we pre-set license terms in the SRA?
Generally, no. It is very difficult to set license terms for an invention that doesn’t yet exist.  Also, Stanford is a 501(c)(3) organization under the IRS Internal Revenue Code. IRS Regulations say that granting rights to sponsored research intellectual property that doesn’t yet exist is considered a “private business use” of facilities funded with tax-exempt bonds.  Tracking and monitoring funding for campus buildings, which change and expand over the years, is difficult for universities,   
Can I send someone from my company to Stanford to work on a project I am funding?
Yes.  You and your employee will be required to sign the Stanford Patent and Copyright Agreement for Visitors, which provides for joint ownership with Stanford of inventions the employee creates in the course of work here.
Who should I contact if I have questions about an SRA?
Please call us at 650-723-0651, or email us at ico@stanford.edu. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Confidentiality Agreements

Does Stanford sign NDAs with companies?

Generally not.  As an open educational and research institution, Stanford does not sign NDAs on behalf of its researchers because the university does not have the controls in place to ensure the confidentiality of company information. For more information, see:  Confidentiality Agreements.

Are Stanford employees required to sign NDAs as a condition of their employment at Stanford?

No.  Stanford does not require employees to sign NDAs as part of their employment.

Who at Stanford reviews NDAs before the Stanford researcher signs it?

Researchers are expected to review and understand NDAs before signing them. Stanford’s Office of Sponsored Research (OSR),or ICO can review the NDA for compliance with University policies.  The NDA is between the company and the Stanford researcher.

Who should I contact if I have questions about my NDA?

Please call us at 650-723-0651, or email us at ico@stanford.edu.

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