Dr. Stanley Kowalski the
Director of International Tech Transfer Institute @ Pierce Law joins the
Blog as the Expert Blogger. This adds to the International tech
transfer Blog team that aims at providing analysis, views, global and
international policy developments and management tips in various areas
of of Technology Transfer and University IP Management.

It is perhaps of interest, and likely somewhat confounding, that MTAs
are a mix of property (i.e., bailment) and contract (i.e., the
“agreement”) law. This point seems to often be misunderstood and
unappreciated. Hence, an MTA represents a somewhat complex instrument.
A question that presents itself is that if the agreement aspect of the
MTA is lacking, insufficient or even absent, then will the MTA
obligations by default be goverened by the common law of bailment?
In
this regard, see the following, from “Intellectual Property Managment
in Health and Agricultural Innovation, A Handbook of Best Practices”.
“MTAs
delineate the terms under which tangible biological materials will be
transferred between two or more parties. Technically, MTAs are
bailments because they involve the transfer of possession but not of
title. In other words, the party that transfers the materials retains
full ownership over them, and the party that receives the materials
holds them “in trust”; an analogy for such a transfer might be the act
of leaving a watch at a watch-repair shop or a suit at a drycleaner.
Ideally, the MTA specifies the term of the transfer, delineates how the
materials may and may not be used, and other related issues, such as
confidentiality. An MTA may also contain licensing provisions for the
transfer of embedded intellectual property (IP) rights (such as patent
rights). Thus, an MTA can be a hybrid instrument, covering the transfer
of both tangible property (via bailment and contract) and intangible
intellectual property (via licensing of patent rights). Unsurprisingly,
MTAs are increasingly complex documents.”
See: http://www.iphandbook.org/handbook/ch07/p03/eo/index.html