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Created August 11, 2009
Intellectual Property Rights and Responsibilities-A Student's Guide


A detailed student project aimed at helping graduate students who are planning to continue their laboratory work at another institution. This includes interviews and a compilation of standards, policies, and procedures that relate to intellectual property rights.


Information contained herein is based on:

Any inaccuracies are wholly unintentional. This paper is accurate to the best knowledge of the author at the time of writing.


This term paper was prepared for the Research Ethics course under the supervision of Caroline Whitbeck during the Spring of 1996. This paper was in part driven by my personal curiosity of understanding my own rights and responsibilities as a graduate research assistant here at MIT.

I am a second year Master of Science degree candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Like most graduate students, I am employed as a graduate research assistant. My work in the laboratory is also the basis of my research thesis. As my knowledge of issues regarding intellectual property was limited to infrequent bits of hearsay, I decided that this would be a good opportunity for me to seek out accurate information on institute policies. Much thought went into creating an involved scenario to serve as a platform to begin asking questions and seeking answers.

My search began at MIT's Technology and Licensing Office. Discussions with Lita Nelsen paved the way to further questions and readings of relevant papers. An interviewee at MIT's Intellectual Property Counsel provided me with much insight into the intricacies of the matter. Another at the Office of Sponsored Programs provided additional critical information. Mary Rowe, MIT's Ombudsperson, provided yet another point of view. To each and every one of them I owe a debt of gratitude for their patience and kindness. They each took time from their busy schedules to meet with me on short notice. I can only hope that I can do them justice in writing this paper.

Each person I interviewed believes that intellectual property is a particularly important issue and that there should be a mechanism in which accurate information is made readily available to the student body. Unfortunately, there are few professors who conduct sessions with their graduate students to discuss such issues at the start of their involvement in research. In fact, there have been several instances where similar scenarios did play out. I have come to the conclusion that perhaps it might be appropriate for me to attempt to bring together information in a concise manner to allow easy reference and comprehension.

My original intent of writing this paper has grown to encompass also the compilation of standards, policies and procedures that may provide interested members of the student body with enough background information to begin their own search for answers on specific areas of interest.


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Cite this page: "Intellectual Property Rights and Responsibilities-A Student's Guide" Online Ethics Center for Engineering 10/5/2006 OEC Accessed: Sunday, December 11, 2016 <>