Whenever you’re working with researchers at other institutions, it’s important to protect your intellectual property, limit liability, and properly document the materials and information you are sharing. This is achieved using a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA), Data Transfer Agreement (DTA), or Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA).
All three types of agreements can be requested easily and quickly using Sophia, a secure online portal. Simply log on to Sophia with your USC NetID and password.
Note: students who haven’t previously logged into Sophia must email the Stevens Center Office Technology Specialist and request Sophia access.
Request to transfer materials, research tools, and/or data to or from another institution
Material Transfer Agreements (MTA) are contracts that protect your invention and USC’s intellectual property, limit liability, and provide for crediting of the developer of materials to and from research institutions and corporate entities. Data Transfer Agreements (DTA) provide the same protections for data as an MTA does for material.
Each exchange of material or data requires an MTA or DTA, and an authorized member of USC Stevens Center for Innovation must sign MTAs and DTAs.
MTA and DTA requests can be filed online with Sophia, saving you time and providing on-demand access to information about your request. Simply log on to Sophia using your USC NetID and password, and follow the prompts.
Once the Stevens Center has all the required information from the requestor, we are committed to preparing a draft agreement and sending it to the other party within three business days.
We also developed two worksheets in Word that cover all the questions that are asked for MTA and DTA requests. You can use the worksheets to gather information and consult with collaborators before completing an MTA or DTA request in Sophia. The worksheets can be downloaded using the links below:
Please contact the Stevens Center directly for urgent MTA or DTA requests that need to be addressed sooner than three business days. Call (213) 740-5864 or email email@example.com.
Receiving a third party’s confidential information and/or disclosing USC intellectual property
Confidential Disclosure Agreements (CDA) are contracts that protect your invention and USC’s intellectual property. They define the permitted use and distribution of non-public information you either provide or receive (such as the status or results of research, unpublished patent information, planned research) to and from nonprofit institutions and for-profit entities.
The Stevens Center can assist with the preparation, review, and signature of CDAs for you to receive a third party’s confidential information and/or disclose university intellectual property where the primary purpose is to enable discussions and information exchange regarding:
- third party licensing of your inventions and other intellectual property
- and/or an unfunded collaboration for the development of intellectual property.
CDA requests can be filed online using Sophia, the same portal used for MTAs and DTAs. Simply log on to Sophia using your USC NetID and password, and follow the prompts.
All CDAs must be signed by an authorized member of Stevens Center for Innovation. CDAs are not intended for use in transferring tangible material or in transferring research data for use in the conduct of research, for which an MTA or DTA should be used.
The Stevens Center does not handle confidentiality agreements needed for other reasons, such as for consulting arrangements, sponsored research, clinical trials, purchasing or human resources. Please refer to the Other Resources page for more information.