The Institute Office of Communications (IOC) is responsible for coordinating, reviewing, and approving use of name requests at MIT, pursuant to Section 12.3 of MIT's Policies and Procedures, Use of Institute Name and Marks.
MIT is internationally known for excellence in education, research, engineering, science, and other activities. The widely recognized MIT name and its associated seals, marks, symbols, logos, and photographic images represent the high caliber of MIT's faculty and students and convey the quality and breadth of MIT's accomplishments. MIT's name and marks are among MIT's most valuable assets. Faculty, students, and staff share in the benefits associated with MIT's name and marks, and therefore also share responsibilities concerning their use.
MIT's name and marks may be used only in connection with activities that meet high standards and are consistent with the Institute's educational, research, and related purposes. Whether a use is proper is dependent on specific facts of the case. The IOC will work with individuals and organizations on a case-by-case basis to determine if the use of MIT's name and marks may be permitted. Any use of MIT's name requires prior written authorization.
To conform to MIT's nonprofit mission, the Institute's name must not be used in ways that suggest or imply the endorsement of other organizations, their products, or their services. These guidelines can help ensure that your use of MIT's name does not conflict with our policy.
If you see an item that appears to misuse the MIT name or trademarks, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Startups and IP licensees
When faculty and students are involved in startups or other companies and are named in any publications or company materials, it is important to be clear that they are performing their duties as members of the company and not in their capacity as an MIT employee.
When you plan to launch your startup or company and wish to make a public announcement, the entire content of the proposed public announcement must be submitted to MIT at least one week prior to the date that you intend to release the statement. No public announcement may be made by you until your license with MIT is fully executed. In drafting the proposed text for the press release:
- You should ensure that the press release or marketing materials are factually accurate. You may state that your company has licensed technology from MIT. You may describe the nature of the technology and its intended commercial applications, and you may provide the names of the inventors of the technology, along with the departments or labs in which those inventors work. If MIT inventors are founders of the company, you should make clear that the inventors’ roles at the company are separate from their roles at MIT.
- The startup or company should ensure that the press release or marketing materials do not imply MIT endorsement of your company: Do not include the MIT logo or seal, and do not include images — including, but not limited to — photographs of any buildings or labs at MIT. The words “us,” “we,” or “partnership” should not be used when referring to the relationship between your company and MIT. MIT should not appear in any headlines.
Licensees may not use MIT’s logos, and MIT’s name must not be used in any print advertisements, television advertisements, in-store promotional materials, or on billboards.
All press releases and marketing materials that will include information about MIT licensed technology or inventors must be submitted to the IOC to be approved.
Faculty and staff
All faculty and staff members should assume responsibility for preventing misuse of the Institute’s name and marks. In teaching, research, and other academic activities of the Institute, MIT's name and marks may be used, subject to the normal review processes established within schools, departments, centers, and programs.
However, when a faculty or staff member is involved in activities not directly associated with MIT (e.g., independent consulting, other business activities, publications, etc.), use of MIT's name and marks is limited to identification of the individual by his or her affiliation (e.g., Jane Smith, professor of biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Faculty members and others engaged in activities involving business relationships with third parties may contact the IOC for information and assistance on name use issues.
Misuse may arise from consulting activities, in public reports made by individuals, or through failure to abide by MIT's restrictions governing the use of results obtained during research or investigations on behalf of commercial firms. For this reason, any press conferences or public announcements should be coordinated with the MIT News Office and the IOC.
It is also important that faculty and staff members not allow their own names to be used in ways that state or imply Institute endorsement in connection with project or product promotions. It should be understood clearly that opinions expressed by a faculty or staff member in preparing a report or paper under a consulting agreement or personal service contract are the opinions of the individual and not an official position of the Institute. Use of the Institute letterhead, address, or other identification that might associate the conclusion of the report with the Institute should be avoided.
Students and alumni
Students and alumni may not use MIT’s name and marks in association with any commercial activity or outside venture without written permission, except to identify themselves (e.g., Jane Doe is a student at MIT or John Doe is an alumnus of MIT). In using the MIT name to identify themselves in connection with commercial activities conducted with outside individuals or entities, students and alumni should assure that the MIT name is used in such a manner that does not imply Institute endorsement or responsibility for the activity involved.
Student and alumni groups that have official MIT or MIT Alumni Association recognition, and are registered as such, may use the MIT name in association with their Institute-sanctioned activities.
Naming of activities
The use of MIT’s name must be limited such that no inappropriate or inaccurate MIT oversight or responsibility of a particular program is implied by using the MIT name. This is especially important for conferences and other events that make use of the MIT campus.
When an MIT group is sponsoring an activity, requests for use of name should refer to the specific name of the school, department, lab, center, or program involved with the outside program rather than to MIT or to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a whole. The use of MIT’s name and/or marks in advertising, websites, and any other promotional material requires written approval from the IOC.
Professional firms and vendors
Professional firms and service providers wishing to include MIT’s name in a list of clients must obtain prior written consent from the IOC. Such lists should be sufficiently long and general so that they do not imply any special endorsement from MIT. Vendors may not publish case studies describing MIT’s experience with their products or services. MIT does not provide individual testimonials.
It is general practice for some industries to produce client portfolios, such as website developers, graphic designers, and photographers. MIT will assess requests made to the IOC for inclusion in these types of portfolios.
Private sponsors of Institute research
Guidelines related to use of name by private sponsors of research are found in the related agreement’s use of name clause. MIT does not issue press releases at the beginning of research projects, with few exceptions, and does not allow private sponsors to issue press releases about MIT research programs or other activities except in rare instances.
When such an exception is granted, the text of the press release must be approved in advance by the IOC, who will review it to determine if the relationship between the sponsor and MIT is accurately portrayed and to confirm that the endorsement of the sponsor or its products or services is not stated or implied.
If an MIT department, lab, or center’s communications officer wishes to issue a press release in conjunction with the sponsor, such press releases are generally allowed, subject to review.
Names of websites and other electronic uses
No faculty, staff, alumnus, volunteer, or student may register a domain name that incorporates the name "MIT" except in accordance with the Institute’s approved policies. Domain name registrations incorporating the name "MIT" are the property of the Institute and must be registered as such. Use of the name "MIT" in any commercial website is prohibited.
With rare exception, the text of MIT websites may not include the names and marks of outside organizations or corporations anywhere other than an acknowledgements page. When such names or marks are included, they must be standard (i.e., not customized) and must be clearly identified as acknowledgements. Such names and/or marks should link only to the homepage of the outside organization or corporation.
Joint educational or research programs
MIT faculty or administrators who become associated with or involved in the educational or research programs of other institutions must exercise extreme care with respect to the use of MIT names and marks in connection with these programs. These situations include those in which MIT as an institution enters into agreement for joint educational or research programs (including international programs), as well as programs for which MIT agrees to provide educational assistance, including the exchange of faculty, course materials, and students.
Use of MIT’s name must be limited in such a manner that no inappropriate or inaccurate MIT oversight or responsibility of the particular program is implied by use of the MIT name. Use of MIT’s name and/or marks in advertising, websites, and any other promotional materials of educational organizations or joint programs requires express written approval from the IOC.
Requests for use of name should refer to the specific name of the school, department, lab, center, or program involved with the outside program rather than to MIT or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a whole. This is to prevent the implication that MIT has entered into a broad, Institute-wide collaboration or alliance with another organization when no such relationship exists and when MIT, as an institution, is not creating, running, administering, or overseeing such a collaborative program.
Approval to use the MIT logo or iconic photographic images of the Institute in connection with such joint programs is rarely granted. Any use of name requests should not include any statements that might imply that MIT is accountable for the actions, statements, or the quality of education or research of external organizations. Any use of name requests should first go to the responsible authority for the unit involved with the program, and that unit-level approval should accompany any requests sent to the IOC.
Certificates for joint programs
A course or program with certificates issued by another institution must meet the following conditions so that MIT’s name can be included on the certificate:
- MIT faculty must have played a major role in designing the MIT content in the program.
- MIT must play an ongoing role in overseeing and reviewing the MIT content in the program to assure content and quality.
- MIT must have sole control in determining the criteria for the display of our name and logo on certificates and must have the right, at any time and in its sole discretion, to change the criteria or terminate the use of our name/logo on any such certificates.
If these criteria are met and permission given, certificates should adhere to the following guidelines:
- Certificates should be accurate, factual, and specific. When a program is centered in a single unit (e.g., a school, department, lab, center, or program), the certificate should clearly indicate that it originates in the unit, not from MIT as a whole.
- MIT must approve all aspects of the appearance of the certificate, including wording, layout, typeface, size, and content. The size and layout of the MIT name and/or logo should be commensurate with MIT’s role in the activity.
- If the agreement calls for the use of an MIT logo, it should be the logo of the school, department, lab, or program involved in the collaboration, provided that such a logo has been created. The MIT (or school or department) logo should be smaller than that of the certifying institution’s logo; it should not be placed prominently at the top of the certificate but should instead be placed on the certificate near the name(s) of the signing faculty member(s) or MIT staff member(s). The language regarding certificates in the agreement that establishes the program should be specific and conform to these guidelines.
- The language regarding certificates in the agreement, as well as the certificates themselves, must be approved by the appropriate department or school administrative office and approved by the appropriate dean and the provost.
MIT inventors and researchers
When disclosing inventions to the Technology Licensing Office, please use a brief descriptive title to aid in identifying the invention. Titles should be descriptive, in plain English (i.e., no acronyms), and without catchphrases or expressions that fully disclose the essence of the invention.
Example: If you were to submit a title for a new type of heat-responsive epoxy, please keep the following in mind:
- Do: Use a descriptive title, such as "Thermally Reactive Resins"
- Don’t: Use a title that names a specific technology like "ThermaStick" or is overly descriptive, such as "Thermally Responsive Epoxide Polyepoxides Mixed in a 1-to-1 Ratio of Resin and Hardener for Use as Structural Adhesives"
Avoid using catchphrases in publications and websites when describing research projects, particularly if you believe there is a potential for a startup or licensee that might want to use the name for their own product or identity. Once a name or phrase has become associated with an MIT project, it cannot be used by an outside party to describe the technology.
Permission to film or photograph on MIT property
MIT attempts to cooperate with those who wish to film or photograph on campus provided that such filming or photography does not interfere with the educational, scholarly, or administrative functions of the Institute. Permission to film or photograph on campus must be obtained from the Institute Office of Communications. Permission will often be limited to the exterior of buildings or facilities.
Generally, filming or photography that is intended for educational or public affairs use will be permitted (subject to logistical and security concerns), while filming or photography for entertainment use will be subject to greater scrutiny. Commercial filming is not allowed on MIT campus. MIT reserves the right to restrict or deny use of campus locations if such use might be harmful to the reputation of MIT or its educational purposes. See MIT’s filming guidelines for more information.
For information about MIT’s policies related to political activities, please see MIT Policies and Procedures (12.7 Political Action).