Associate Director, Licensing

University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA

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Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

The University of Southern California (USC) is a leading private research university located in Los Angeles – a global center for arts, technology and international business. As the city’s largest private employer, responsible for more than $5 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 (, and you will be a member of the Trojan Family - the faculty, staff, students and alumni who make USC a great place to work. If you think you’ve got what it takes, please continue reading!

The USC Stevens Center for Innovation is seeking to hire a strategic, high-energy, and driven Associate Director of Licensing (“Associate Director”) to join its team. It is expected that this person will have excellent communication and technical skills with a track record of successfully directing the scientific and commercial evaluation of promising new technology disclosures, crafting strategic national and international patent strategies and marketing plans, and actively engaging with the commercial marketplace to ensure the university technologies are made available for the public good.

The Associate Director evaluates potential licenses, develops commercialization strategies, and determines the level of need for the protection of university intellectual property. The position is responsible for supporting and consulting with university inventors, enhancing the reputations of the university and the USC Stevens Center for Innovation, and maintaining existing university licensing agreements. The Associate Director, Licensing identifies potential conflicts of interest and oversees licensing compliance, all while directly supervising all assigned staff and maintaining current knowledge in the field of specialty.

USC Stevens leads university initiatives that empower USC faculty and students to maximize the impact of their research and scholarship by creating successful relationships with investors, corporations, and other private entities, including start-up companies ( USC Stevens is unique as it is partially endowed by a generous donation from USC trustee and Sequoia Capital partner Mark Stevens, reports to the Vice President of Research, and has the full support of the USC Provost.

Responsibilities include:

  • Evaluates potential licensees and development teams to evolve licensing strategies considering the market data, interest and longer term public benefit, and human factors associated with individual cases. Determines whether the public and the university is best served by licensing an invention exclusively to an established corporation or an interested start-up, attempting to assemble a startup team, or licensing broadly on a nonexclusive basis.

  • Scouts internal research programs to identify opportunities, educates and influences inventors on how to get to the next commercial value inflection point, to facilitate deal making of de-risked assets. Understands early product development processes.

  • This individual recruits, screens, hires, trains and directly supervises all assigned subordinate staff. Evaluates employee performance and provides guidance and feedback. Counsels, disciplines and/or terminates employees as required. Recommends departmental goals and objectives, including workforce planning and compensation recommendations. Reassesses or redefines priorities as appropriate in order to achieve performance objectives.

  • Actively supports and consults with university Inventors regarding their innovations. Educates and advises faculty and staff about Intellectual property generally and specifically as it relates to university policies and commercialization. Encourages faculty, staff and students to complete invention disclosures and use the services of USC Stevens. Develops and facilitates deep partnerships with multiple stakeholders including faculty and researchers, individual and institutional partners, investors and entrepreneurs to drive the department vision and realize maximum value from the university technologies.

  • Independently develops and implements commercialization strategies for a portfolio of technologies, identifies and cultivates qualified companies as potential licensees and evaluates business and marketing plans. Proposes financial terms such as upfront licensing fees, running royalty rates, and due diligence milestones to ensure that the licensee is required to make an effort sufficient to commercialize the technology. Negotiates, drafts, and executes confidential disclosure agreements, options, and licenses.

  • Evaluates the commercial potential, viability and patentability of new inventions, technology and intellectual property, identifying new uses, potential markets, market sizes and competing technologies through the use of personal knowledge of emerging technologies, information developed from network of experts, on-line databases, internal tools and programs.

  • Determines necessity for intellectual property protection for each invention using a comprehensive understanding of patent law and prosecution strategy. Makes decisions regarding ongoing prosecution and maintenance.



  • Masters Degree in the Life Sciences, such as Cell Biology or Molecular Biology.


  • 7 years

Preferred Field of Expertise

  • Possessing a track-record of successful licensing management in the Life Sciences arena (biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and diagnostics).

  • Direct experience in licensing and business development in both academic and corporate environments.

  • Direct supervision of staff in an academic licensing environment.

  • Experience with start-ups and new product development.

  • Certified Licensing Professional credential.

Minimum Education:Bachelor's degreeCombined experience/education as substitute for minimum educationMinimum Experience:5 yearsMinimum Field of Expertise:Five years of industry experience. Demonstrated experience in negotiation, licensing, or business development experience for early stage technology/research in a corporate or university setting. Demonstrable high degree of technical and business expertise, understanding of start-ups, management or very early-stage inventions and partnership development and the research and technology development process Comprehensive understanding or patent law and prosecution strategy. Experience in technology marketing, evaluation and new technology valuation or acquisition in a university and industry settling. Expertise In current market conditions and trends for patents and commercial licensing agreements. Proven ability to establish and sustain effective partnerships.

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