Intellectual Property Policy

Policies and Guidance

Harvard has a university-wide policy that governs the ownership and handling of intellectual property arising from research and other activities at Harvard.  Among other things, the policy defines which IP will be owned by Harvard and sets out the rights and obligations of Harvard researchers with respect to that IP (including, e.g., as regards the reporting of inventions, release of inventions by Harvard to inventors and the sharing of revenues derived from commercialization of Harvard-owned IP).  The Office of Technology Development (OTD) is responsible for implementing the IP Policy with respect to inventions, software and other materials that arise from Harvard research activities.  The full IP Policy can be found on OTD’s website.

The University and its Schools also have adopted other policies concerning IP and the development and licensing of technology. These policies can be found on OTD's website and on the Provost's Office website.   

In addition, a number of Harvard Faculties and Schools have adopted open-access policies for scholarly articles authored by Harvard faculty members.  The open-access policies grant Harvard a nonexclusive license to use and distribute a faculty member’s articles, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit.  The open-access policies can be found on the Office for Scholarly Communication’s website.

The Harvard Trademark Program oversees the worldwide registration and protection of Harvard’s trademarks and administers the University’s Use-of-Name policies, which govern how the Harvard name (including the names of the University’s schools and units) may be used by members of the Harvard community. The policies (including the University’s primary use-of-name policy: The Use of Harvard Names and Insignias) may be found at the Harvard Trademark Program policy page.

A useful resource in the course of research is "Copyright and Fair Use: A Guide for the Harvard Community (pdf)," which can be found on the Copyright Resources section of the Office of General Counsel website.