MTAs are legal agreements (bailments) that govern the transfer of a tangible property between parties. Rodriguez, Victor et al.

A review period of 30 to 45 days is sufficient for most providers and is acceptable to most academic recipients. These considerations color the expectations of universities, particularly if the provider of a material seeks free license to resulting inventions.

Material transfer agreements (MTAs) are legal instruments that define terms for the transfer of tangible biological ma… The MTA defines the rights of the provider and the rights and obligations of the recipient with respect to the materials and any progeny, derivatives, or modifications. Even those plant genetic resource centers that are most committed to the free exchange of germplasm now utilize specific agreements to govern the transfer of seeds, if only to specify that the recipient cannot seek intellectual property (IP) rights on the materials (the African Rice Center, WARDA; Box 1 [see end of chapter])3 or to ensure that the recipient understands that there is no warranty on the transferred material (Tomato Genetics Resource Center; Box 2 [see end of chapter]). Such a collaboration could be accommodated by a separate collaboration agreement that would accompany the MTA. It is interesting to note that an evaluation of the property rights associated with “GoldenRice” indicated that 44 patented products or processes and at least 15 materials, many of which were governed by MTAs, were potentially used in its development.5 In navigating the intellectual and technical property landscape surrounding “GoldenRice,” Potrykus reported that the restrictions imposed by one MTA had been particularly problematic.6, Just as universities are experiencing an increase in the use of MTAs for receiving and disseminating materials, so are companies. An MTA may have a separate section to define specific terms such as materials, use of the materials, modifications, or inventions. National Academic Press: Washington, D. C. The case of biotechnology in Belgium. The freedom to publish can be restricted by MTAs when the provider requires editorial rights in a publication or the right to approve and, by inference, to disapprove a publication. However, this problem is usually avoidable, particularly if such exclusive licenses specifically reserve the right to use the materials for internal research purposes and to transfer the materials for research at other academic institutions.
Unfortunately, developing these solutions can take a long time and, as mentioned earlier, for many private companies, negotiating MTAs for university researchers is a low priority in relation to the many IP-related transactions that may be more critical to the company’s primary business interests. An exclusive license is “exclusive” as to a defined scope, that is, the license might not be the only license granted for a particular IP asset, as there might be many possible fields and scopes of use that can also be subject to exclusive licensing. In both agricultural and health research, the increasingly sophisticated research approaches that rely heavily on access to biological or bioinformatic resources created by other researchers have dramatically increased the need for researchers to share research tools. Scientists have traditionally shared research materials freely, and, indeed, an important criterion for scientific publication has been the ability of other researchers to experimentally reproduce and thereby test published results. Sometimes confidential information is put in the exhibits or appendices so that it can be redacted more easily than if it were put into the agreement. pp 223–249. As Eisenberg summarized “Although there are many points on which they disagree, most people from each of these quarters seem to agree that the problem is growing rather than diminishing.”8.

Universities readily agree to these types of provisions, but further restrictions on publication rights are typically nonnegotiable. The barriers that MTAs can present to facilitate the flow of published research materials between non-profit institutions have long been recognized. Rodriguez, Victor et al.  |  Rodriguez, Victor (2005). In simple terms, this agreement and or legal agreement is created in order to make sure the party whose intellectual rights are being used is protected at all times.

continuation (close) In the United States, this obligation is based on the Bayh-Dole Act, which has a stated objective “to promote … public availability of inventions,” as well as on the philosophical missions of most universities. In addition to recipient liability, some MTAs will make the providers liable for losses, claims, or demands made by the recipient, or made against the recipient by any other party, that are due to the provider’s negligence or misconduct.

The parties should be able to terminate the MTA earlier by providing advance, written notice. Particularly, in the case of companies, they may be reluctant to share their “crown jewels” without making sure that their business interests are protected. Overcoming Barriers to Transfers of Published Research Materials Specific Issues with Material Transfer Agreements, 1. notice (close) A typical warranty clause, usually written in capital letters, may read: PROVIDER MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS AND EXTENDS NO WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED. The recipient assumes full responsibility for complying with the recipient nation’s quarantine and biosafety regulations and rules as to import or release of genetic material. Appendix 4. MTAs are bailments that transfer possession but not title: the party who transfers the materials retains full ownership; the party who receives the materials holds them in trust. Materials may include cell lines, plasmids, nucleotides, proteins, transgenic animals, plant varieties, bacteria, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals. The phytosanitary condition of the material is warranted only as described in the attached phytosanitary certificate.

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