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Innovation Policies & Guidelines

Invention confidentiality agreement

A few notes about confidentiality

Public disclosure of an invention may limit, or even forfeit, the right to obtain a patent.

A public disclosure is any communication of the invention to individuals who are not Mass General Brigham employees or are not covered by a confidentiality agreement or policies.

Some common examples include:

  • Journal or book publications

  • Published meeting abstracts, interviews, posters, and oral presentations

  • Dissertations and theses

  • Online publications, including laboratory webpages or social media

Common situations, which may not be public disclosures, include internal presentations that are not open to the public.

Grant proposals are often confidential and may not initially be a public disclosure until the granting organization publishes elements of the proposal, such as the abstract or progress report publications.

Discussions with external parties under a confidentiality agreement also are protected and not considered public disclosures. It can sometimes be difficult to know what a public disclosure is. Mass General Brigham Innovation can help address questions. Notifying the assigned Business Development & Licensing Manager in advance of any potential public disclosure is recommended to ensure protection.

Even if an invention disclosure form (IDF) has been submitted, the invention needs to be confidential until a patent application is filed. This is often initially via a “provisional filing,” a temporary 12-month protection that becomes public information if it is converted into a “nonprovisional” (i.e., full) patent.

Important areas of inventions are often pursued competitively by multiple groups. Sometimes, in a highly competitive field, a difference of even a day in filing can determine who is ultimately awarded the patent.

Please contact your Business Development & Licensing Manager for additional information.

Intellectual property policy

The Mass General Brigham intellectual property (IP) policy details how intellectual property created at Mass General Brigham institutions is owned and managed, as well as how net income derived from this activity is distributed within the institution and to inventors.

Other policies and guidelines

You must be on the Mass General Brigham network to access the following policies and guidelines: