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Commercialization Material Transfer Agreements

Safeguard your intellectual property when sending it to outside sources


MTA’s define the rights of the provider and the recipient with respect to the materials and any derivatives and is required for transferring or receiving any material from an entity.

Biological materials, such as reagents, cell lines, plasmids, vectors, and live animals, are the most frequently transferred materials.
However, MTAs may also be necessary for other research materials such as engineering samples, chemical compounds, and software.

For more information how how to obtain a MTA for your material please see our step by step instructions below.


The Office of Research Support & Operations (ORSO) is responsible for negotiating all incoming and outgoing MTAs.  All principal investigators or researchers who wish to receive or send materials through the university should submit an MTA request form to ORSO.

If your MTA pertains to live vertebrate animals

The transfer of live vertebrate animals is coordinated between ORSO, the Campus Vet (OCV), and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Office (IACUC).  To transfer live vertebrate  submit an MTA request form and the Animal Protocol Checklist below.

Washington State University is a signatory on the Master UBMTA Agreement.  We are happy to execute a UBMTA Implementing Letter when appropriate.


  • Why are Material Transfer Agreements Necessary?

    An (MTA) is a legal document for the protection of tangible research materials created by researchers that may be useful to others for research or for commercial development. It is important to contact ORSO prior to receiving or sending out any research materials so that appropriate MTAs can be developed to protect you and the institution.

  • I have some materials that my colleague at another university wants to use. Can I simply mail them? Am I required to have an agreement set up?

    All the materials that go out of the University need to have an out-going materials transfer agreement attached to them. These MTAs specify the rights and limitations for using these materials and are meant to protect the rights of WSU researchers. In addition, these also serve the purpose of complying with export regulations between the United States and a foreign country.

  • I have materials a company wants to use. Can I give them to the company?

    Corporate entities can have access to materials developed by WSU researchers. This type of transfer is facilitated via a research use license and MTA with that entity.

  • A company wants to fund research in my lab and requires that I disclose confidential and proprietary information to them. What should I do?

    WSU’s Research Support & Operations (ORSO) enters into a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to facilitate the exchange of confidential information with an industry sponsor to protect the rights of WSU researchers. NDAs allow you to disclosure confidential information prior to, for example, a research proposal submission.

  • I want to use materials developed by my colleagues at another institution. Can I simply ask for them to send me the materials?

    All the materials that come into the University need to have an in-coming MTA attached to them. These MTAs specify the rights and limitations for using these materials and are meant to protect the rights of WSU researchers. Incoming MTAs are handled by the Office of Research Support & Operations (ORSO). Please refer to the procedure section below for details in how to obtain an MTA.

  • I have developed methods and other information (“know-how”) that I have not published and a company wants to have access to this information. How can they obtain access to this information?

    Know-how and information that is not patented or patentable can be made available to an industry partner under a know-how license. Know-how licenses are negotiated by The Office of Commercialization. For more information, and assistance please reach out to the OC.

Quick Help

MTA Questions

Licensing Questions

What happens next?

  • ORSO will draft and negotiate the MTA with the other party.
    Negotiating and executing the MTA can be a lengthy process.  Please plan ahead.
  • ORSO Inform all parties when the agreement is fully executed.
    At this point, the materials may be transferred or received.