Disclosure of Laboratory Proprietary Information

Links updated 09/08

  1. General
  2. Procedure
    1. Written Agreement
    2. Disclosure of Information or Transfer of Material
    3. Transfer Labeling
  3. Transfer of Proprietary Information or Material to Subcontractors
  4. Consequence of Failure to Safeguard Berkeley Lab Information


At times, the Laboratory needs to, or finds it useful to, disclose unpublished information relating to technological and scientific developments or to transfer tangible research material. Examples of tangible research material include cell lines, chemical compounds, and source codes for software. Appropriate uses of such disclosures or transfers are to enable the recipient to evaluate the information/material's potential commercial utility or the recipient's interest in obtaining a commercial license from Berkeley Lab; replicate, reproduce, evaluate, or confirm Berkeley Lab's research effort; or do research furthering Berkeley Lab's programmatic goals. Disclosure of Laboratory proprietary information for personal gain is prohibited. See flag image RPM §10.14 flag image (Privileged Information).

Laboratory staff must observe the following procedures when the Laboratory transfers proprietary information or tangible research material to third parties (other than appropriate University of California staff or DOE). These procedures are established to enable the Laboratory to comply with its obligation under the DOE/LBNL Contract to maintain the patentability of inventions, foster appropriate technology transfer, and avoid liability for others' use or misuse of Laboratory information or material.


1. Written Agreement

A Laboratory researcher wishing to transfer proprietary information or material must contact Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Management to prepare a nondisclosure agreement or material transfer agreement, as appropriate. Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Management may also prepare agreements for mutual disclosure of proprietary information or transfer of material. The researcher may not transfer the Laboratory proprietary information or material before such an agreement is signed by both the Laboratory and the recipient.

2. Disclosure of Information or Transfer of Material

At a minimum, any information the Laboratory discloses under agreement must be prominently marked as "proprietary" or "confidential." If the Laboratory researcher wishing to transfer proprietary information or material (the discloser) wishes to disclose the information orally, he or she must first inform his or her audience that the forthcoming information is confidential. Some nondisclosure agreements also require that confidential oral presentations be summarized, marked as confidential, and transmitted to the receiver within 15 to 30 days. The researcher must comply with any additional requirements contained in the nondisclosure agreement.

3. Transfer Labeling

Any tangible research material that a Laboratory researcher transfers must be appropriately labeled and include instructions for handling as necessary for safe use. flag image All materials must be shipped through the Laboratory's Shipping and Receiving Department to ensure compliance with Export Control and other applicable laws. flag image


Under certain subcontracts, the University's full rights to intellectual property may be impaired if proprietary information or material is transferred to a subcontractor under the subcontract without appropriate restrictive markings. If a Laboratory researcher anticipates transferring Laboratory proprietary information or material to a Laboratory subcontractor, the researcher must inform Procurement about this intention and take steps necessary under the subcontract to mark the information or material.


Failure to reasonably safeguard Laboratory proprietary information and/or follow the procedures listed above may constitute a serious violation of professional responsibility that may result in disciplinary action, including termination.

Printed . The official or current version is located in the online LBNL Requirements and Policies Manual.
Printed or electronically transmitted copies are not official. Users are responsible for working with the latest approved revision.

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