UNeMed negotiates a variety of contracts for and on behalf of the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC).  Two contracts are especially relevant for University Researchers.

Material Transfer Agreement

A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) attaches certain terms to the use of tangible research materials allowing other researchers to use them while protecting rights associated with the materials.  At UNMC, tangible materials can include molecular biology reagents, cell lines, recombinant mice, devices or even software.  The advantage of an MTA is that it allows researchers to share tangible materials with other universities while maintaining the ability to commercialize.  MTA’s also allow industry to provide tangible materials to researchers without the researchers having to buy the materials.  The disadvantage of MTA’s is that they can delay publication, limit future intellectual property rights and require researchers to keep some information related to the materials confidential.

UNeMed negotiates all outgoing and incoming UNMC MTA’s.  The negotiation of MTA’s varies substantially: simple university-university MTA’s can generally be handled in a day or two while more complex MTA’s, with foreign companies or proprietary materials from industry can take to negotiate.  The additional time spent negotiating often stems from certain requirements placed upon UNMC by the Board of Regents, the National Institutes of Health as well as federal law and state law.  UNeMed also ensures that the terms of MTA’s will not prevent future research; violate any law or policy or inequitably take a share of the intellectual property generated by research.

If you are interested in transferring materials from UNMC or need to execute an MTA in order to receive materials please contact Jason Nickla, JD LLM – jnickla@unmc.edu. To expedite the process please have ready information related to the source of funding, the original source of the materials (or any portion of the material, as well as a description of the intended research making use of the materials and to whom you intend to send the materials or from  whom you will receive them.

Confidential Disclosure Agreement

A Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA) enables UNMC faculty or staff to speak with a third party.  CDA’s can be executed between companies, universities or individuals about information not yet published or that has not yet been submitted for intellectual property protection.

CDA’s further enable discussion of business development information or early-stage scientific collaboration.  For protection of patent rights, CDA’s are critical because premature public disclosure can limit or even preclude patent rights.  CDA’s allow researchers to share unpublished information with academic collaborators or commercialization partners.  Protecting ideas is essential to preserve the impact of academic publications and the value of intellectual property rights.

In order to receive confidential information researchers are often asked to also receive confidential information.  In such cases UNeMed can negotiate the terms of a bilateral CDA’s where both parties share and receive information.  Bilateral CDA’s, however, can be dangerous as they can limit future research.  If researchers are obligated to keep information similar to their own research confidential it may prevent future publication.  Careful consideration of any agreement where researchers are asked to keep information confidential is essential in order to protect future research.

Please contact Jason Nickla, JD LLM – jnickla@unmc.edu if you are interested in entering into a CDA to discuss confidential information.