Skip to main content

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Technology Licensing Office records

Identifier: AC-0503

  • Staff Only
  • Select item to request

Scope and Contents

This collection comprises the records of the Technology Licensing Office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The office handles patent, licensing, trademark, and copyright activities for inventions and intellectual property created at MIT. Included in the collection are patent files, trademark files, software code, licensing agreements, and documentation of legal cases related to patents and trademarks. Materials in the collection largely date after 2004, materials generated by the office before 2004 are located in AC-0588, Technology Licensing Office records.


  • Creation: approximately 1999 - 2015


Access note

In accordance with MIT records policy, records are open after twenty years with the following exceptions:

Licensee Agreement Files (series 5) are closed 50 years.

Software Code Files (series 8), Software Case Files (series 9), and Software End-Use Licenses (series 10) are closed for 75 years.

Litigation Files (series 7) are permanently closed.

Personal identification numbers on documents in series 1 and series 6 are restricted and files will be screened for numbers prior to research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.

Historical note

The Technology Licensing Office (TLO), constituted in its current form in 1986, manages the formal licensing to third parties of technology and other intellectual property developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Lincoln Laboratory. The office handles patent, licensing, trademark, and copyright activities for inventions and intellectual property in a variety of fields including the physical sciences, life sciences, and information technology. The office also serves as a resource on intellectual property and licensing matters for the MIT community. An Inventor’s Guide to Technology Transfer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(2005) outlines the activities of the office.

The stated mission of the TLO (2009)is to benefit the public by moving results of MIT research into societal use via technology licensing, through a process which is consistent with academic principles, demonstrates a concern for the welfare of students and faculty, and conforms to the highest ethical standards.

Predecessor offices include the Patent, Copyright, and Licensing Office, which reported to the Vice President for Research (1977-1985), and the Patents and Copyrights Office, which was part of the Office of Sponsored Programs (1970-1976). Between 1920 and 1970 the Division of Industrial Cooperation (incorporated into the Division of Sponsored Research in 1956) had similar responsibilities.

A history of the office can be found at:


226 Cubic Feet (226 record cartons)

Language of Materials



The largest set of material in the Technology Licensing Office collection (AC-0503) consists of case files in series 1 (invention disclosure case files). Records in collection AC-0503 were transferred to the permanent holdings of the Institute Archives beginning in 2004, but files, especially case files, may be created over a period of time. Therefore, documents in files will have dates earlier than 2004.

Arrangement note

Technology Licensing Office records are organized into fifteen series as determined by the Institute’s retention schedule for Technology Licensing Office records:


Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Other Aids to the Collection

A condensed box list is available to staff in the MIT ArchivesSpace staff interface. More detailed file lists are available in the Department of Distinctive Collections collection control file for some boxes, restricted to staff. TLO staff have a file level listing database to the collection.

Source of Acquisition

Records were transferred to the Department of Distinctive Collections (formerly the Institute Archives and Special Collections) from the Technology Licensing Office beginning in 2004.

Accruals note

Additional accruals are expected.

Related Archival Materials

Related collections in Distinctive Collections are AC-0588, Technology Licensing Office, containing records transferred to Distinctive Collections between 1982 and 2003. Also of interest are the records of the Patent Policy Committee, 1930-1968 (AC-0064), and records of the MIT Patent, Copyright, and Licensing Office (AC-0067) containing records dating from 1930 to 1979.

Processing Information

In spring 2021, this finding aid was revised as part of a project to publish previously unpublished finding aids. The finding aid was brought up to minimum description standards and any personally identifying information in the description was removed.

Genre / Form

Guide to the Records of the Technology Licensing Office
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021 June: Edited by Chris Tanguay for compliance with DACS single-level optimum requirements and to remove personally identifying information from the description.
  • 2023 April 27: Revised by processing archivist Chris Tanguay to add access notes and enhance description.

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US