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Director of Licensing and New Ventures

Office of Research Los Angeles, California

The University of Southern California (“USC”) is a leading private research university located in the heart of Los Angeles – a global center for arts, technology and international business.  As the city’s largest private employer, responsible for more than $8 billion annually in economic activity in the region, we offer the opportunity to work in a dynamic and diverse environment in careers that span a broad spectrum of talents and skills across a variety of academic schools and units.  As a USC employee, you will enjoy excellent benefits and perks (https://employees.usc.edu/benefits-perks/) and be a member of the Trojan Family - the faculty, staff, students and alumni who make USC a great place to work.

The USC Stevens Center for Innovation (“USC Stevens”), USC’s Technology Transfer Office, is a university-wide resource for USC innovators in the office of the Provost.  Designed to harness and advance the creative thinking and breakthrough research at USC for societal impact.  USC Stevens manages technologies stemming from an approximately $900 million annual research budget, USC Stevens focuses on the licensing of technologies, expanding industry collaborations and supporting start-ups (https://stevens.usc.edu).  USC Stevens is unique as it is partially endowed by a generous donation from USC Trustee and a venture capitalist with 30 years of experience. 

USC Sevens is seeking outstanding candidates for the position of Director of Licensing & New Ventures to join its team.  Under the direction of the Executive Director, USC Stevens Center for Innovation, the Director will lead a team consisting of 2 Associate Directors of Licensing, 9 Licensing Associates and 2 Assistant Directors of Corporate Collaborations.  Working with the Associate Directors of Licensing, the incumbent will direct the operation and administrative functions associated with intellectual property and related innovation services of the USC Stevens Licensing and New Ventures Team as well as the USC Stevens Corporate Collaborations team. They will oversee administration, budget, educational outreach, and reporting.   This position reports to the Executive Director, USC Stevens Center for Innovation and works closely with the ED on strategic planning, policy development and USC Stevens innovation and entrepreneurship programs.  The successful candidate will have a passion for the commercialization of early stage technologies. Have a demonstrated track record of leading a commercialization team. Be highly motivated, organized, detail-oriented, collaborative, and committed to delivering high-quality work. They will have the ability to navigate and resolve complex conflicts while preserving positive relationships through the combined use of outstanding interpersonal skills and scientific and business knowledge.

They will have excellent written and oral communication skills and thrive in a fast-paced environment. 

Job Accountabilities:

  • Directs the patent and licensing services, activities and projects. Encourages, facilitates and evaluates intellectual property disclosures for licensing by the university. Coordinates the patent application and prosecution process with external attorneys. Identifies strategies for commercialization of university technologies, including licensing to existing companies or to potential start-up companies.
  • Directly or indirectly manages all staff assigned to unit, usually through subordinate supervisors. Determines staffing needs based on goals and objectives of unit. Determines and/or recommends unit hiring and salary administration including raises, promotions and reclassifications. Approves/disapproves all work guidance actions within unit. Approves professional development activities.
  • Markets technologies to appropriate companies or funding sources through office website, databases and other outreach sources. Coordinates with researchers on commercialization strategy. Facilitates start-up companies.
  • Negotiates interinstitutional agreements if there are co-inventors at another institution allocating the responsibilities for expenses and activities. Ensures timely reporting of inventions to sponsors and monitors licensees.
  • Interacts with Contracts and Grants, Office of the Provost, Office of the General Counsel and other university departments as needed. Interacts with senior management at various outside corporations, technology management programs at other institutions and local and national technology commercialization organizations.
  • Builds awareness of intellectual property policies and commercialization in office and with researchers, schools and departments. Organizes educational outreach including newsletters, seminars and the office website.
  • Resolves problems referred by professional staff and provides policy and regulatory interpretations as needed. Responds to requests from senior administrators and other university officials for assistance and expertise.
  • Develops and administers budget. Analyzes budget and financial data for trends. Makes budgetary and resource allocation decisions.
  • Identifies and establishes contact with external public/private organizations to enhance support for commercialization of university technologies. Represents university in national organizations.
  • Maintains professional currency through active participation and leadership in associations and committees both internal and external to the university. Attends meetings, seminars and conferences. Makes formal presentations as needed.

Preferred Qualifications:

Education:  Ph.D. or J.D. and CLP Certification

Experience:  10 years

Field of Experience:

  • Passion for commercialization of early stage technologies.
  • Understanding and experience in academic technology commercialization.
  • Positive outlook, sense of urgency, and great team player.
  • 10+ years of direct relevant work experience.
  • 5+ years of experience in licensing technologies and drafting/negotiation of NDAs, IIAs, licenses and sponsored research agreements.    Demonstrated experience and strong technical competence to draft agreements and negotiate terms and conditions for complex license agreements
  • Excellent communication skills – ability to have candid, firm and respectful conversations with others.  Ability to effectively use emotional information to manage up and down; recognizes when to ask for support from senior leadership
  • Ability to navigate and resolve conflicts of mid-level complexities while preserving positive relationships through the combined use of outstanding interpersonal skills and scientific and business knowledge
  • Ability to establish priorities, take ownership and leadership of time-sensitive and complex projects from inception to completion, including developing strategy , implementation and execution of tasks.
  • Demonstrated ability to independently exercise sound judgment and decision making, creativity, problem solving, and critical analysis.
  • Advanced knowledge of contract and patent laws, university policies, industry and regulatory requirements, and state and federal laws governing technology transfer.
  • Proven ability to represent the organization at conferences and to participate in these conferences as a speaker and moderator.
  • 5-7 years of successful management experience in corporate, academic, startup and/or entrepreneurial setting with technology transfer, business development, intellectual property management, and related activities.
  • Exceptional leadership skills with the ability to identify and hire talent, coach staff, manage and develop diverse, high-performance teams, set and achieve strategic objectives and goals, and manage a budget.
  • Experience and strong technical competence negotiating deal terms, complex and standard, with industry perspective and understanding of relevant comps (e.g. royalty rates, term sheets, IP)
  • Understanding of, and experience in, negotiating start-up company creation agreements, including shareholder agreements
  • Proven success engaging the private sector in a variety of commercial endeavors.
  • Action-oriented and innovative leader for business development and implementation.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Strong knowledge of I.P. law
  • Highly organized with the ability to establish appropriate priorities
  • Detail-oriented
  • Experience organizing and conducting training and education workshops on I.P. and technology transfer
  • Demonstrated ability to work constructively and collaboratively with diverse groups and individuals both within and outside the University.
  • Understanding of early product development.
  • Prior experience in market research and business case preparation.
  • Understanding of the academic research environment.
  • Experience working effectively in a large organization or corporation.
  • Understanding of industry and technology trends, industry current events
  • Start-up company experience including knowledge and experience with convertible debentures, equity documents, cap tables, etc.
  • Experience organizing and running Innovation programs.

Minimum Qualifications:

Education:  Ph.D. or J.D. ; combined experience/education may substitute for minimum education

Experience:  7 years

USC strongly values diversity and is committed to equal opportunity in employment.

Note: A complete application includes a cover letter and resume which may be uploaded in one document (Word or PDF).  Incomplete applications may not receive consideration.


Minimum Education: Doctorate, Combined experience/education as substitute for minimum education Minimum Experience: 7 years Minimum Field of Expertise: Directly related technology commercialization experience. Strong financial, management and leadership skills. Understanding and appreciation of the research enterprise in an academic institution as it relates to technology commercialization. Demonstrated ability to communicate with diverse audiences.


REQ20094006 Posted Date: 02/10/2021

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