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Equipment Loans

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Equipment Loans Agreements (ELAs) govern the loan of equipment from outside entities to Stanford for research. Companies may offer to lend specialized equipment to Stanford laboratories for research purposes at no cost to Stanford. ICO negotiates and signs agreements with the lending company that cover the terms of the equipment loan. Researchers should carefully review the terms of the loan to determine how equipment can be used or shared within the lab.

ICO has an Equipment Loan Agreement template that investigators may send to companies that plan to lend equipment to their labs. Investigators should not sign the agreement, but contact ICO to negotiate any changes requested by the company and sign the final agreement. Please contact for questions about specific equipment loans.

To initiate the agreement, please submit an ICO Intake Form.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between a gift of equipment and a loan of equipment?

If the equipment is a gift, Stanford owns the equipment. If the equipment is a loan, then the company keeps title to the equipment, and permits its use to Stanford during the loan period. At the end of the loan, either the equipment is returned or the University must make other arrangements with the equipment’s owner. Some companies lending equipment restrict how the equipment can be used.

2. Who is responsible for maintenance and insurance on the loaned equipment?

That depends upon the loan agreement between the company and Stanford. It is important to agree in advance who will provide and pay for delivery, service, installation, de-installation, and related costs.

3. May other researchers use equipment loaned to my lab?

This depends on the terms of the ELA. Some agreements limit use of the equipment to a particular lab, others might allow broad use.

4. Are there any restrictions on how I can use the loaned equipment? For example, can I do research funded by another company on this equipment?

This also depends on the terms of the agreement. The agreement should outline any limits to use of the equipment while at Stanford.

5. The company wants rights to license inventions I make using the loaned equipment. Are there any problems with this?

Yes. Stanford does not grant the lender rights to inventions created with the equipment. There are many reasons, including that the University cannot track exactly who uses which equipment in their research. Also, offering the lender such rights may conflict with rights granted to the entity funding the research. 

6. Do I need to inform anyone outside my lab that I am receiving loaned equipment?

Yes. Researchers should inform the department chair and department's materials manager so they know that the equipment will be installed in your lab. Also, it’s important to inform the Property Management Office and provide a copy of the ELA.

7. What if the loaned equipment for my research will be installed in the Stanford Hospital & Clinics or Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital?

The University does not have the authority to make agreements on behalf of the hospitals and clinics. ICO will coordinate with the University’s Office of the General Counsel  and the hospital to make sure all parties can accept and abide by the terms of the agreement.

8. Can I loan out equipment that has been loaned to me to someone outside Stanford?

No, typically the loaned equipment must stay within Stanford since Stanford carries responsibility for it.

9. Can I loan out equipment that Stanford owns?

If you purchase a piece of equipment with the funding from a federal source, you cannot loan the equipment to a for-profit entity. If you fabricated this equipment yourself or purchased it with any other source of funding, and the funding agreement gives title to the equipment to Stanford, then you may loan it to third parties. Contact the Property Management Office for guidance on how to loan equipment.

10. Do I need an agreement to loan my equipment out?

Yes, you should have an agreement in place to loan your equipment out to make sure it is handled and returned in proper condition and to avoid any liability issues. Please submit a request to the ICO Intake Form.