Dr. Rodney L. Sparks serves as Senior Biotechnology Patent Counsel for the University of Virginia Licensing & Ventures Group and has over 30 years experience as a scientist and lawyer.
He joined the University of Virginia Licensing & Ventures Group in 2004 from the well known intellectual property law group at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, in Philadelphia. Rodney has represented a variety of clients in the United States and abroad, including universities, biotechnology companies, and pharmaceutical companies. Prior to working at Drinker, he was also in private practice at Morgan, Lewis and Bockius LLP, and at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld, both in Philadelphia.
As a patent attorney, Dr. Sparks has: prepared and prosecuted biotechnology, chemical, and pharmaceutical patent applications; prepared patentability, validity, freedom to operate, and infringement opinions; performed inventorship determinations; performed due diligence for licensing, for investments in technology companies, and for mergers, and acquisitions; prepared, reviewed, and negotiated licenses and material transfer, sponsored research, and other agreements; provided litigation support and license negotiation support; counseled clients, licensees, and inventors on patent, legal, licensing, and business issues.
Prior to becoming a lawyer, Dr. Sparks was as an academic scientist. After completing work on his Ph.D. at the University of Texas Health Science at San Antonio, Dr. Sparks completed postdoctoral training in the cellular and molecular biology of cancer at the Johns Hopkins University and was a research fellow at the Mayo Clinic. He was on the faculty of the Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine and was then a tenured faculty member at Tulane Medical School. Dr. Sparks was funded by various local, regional, and national funding agencies, served on study sections for several federal agencies, taught and trained medical and graduate students, and chaired or served on various committees. While on the faculty at Tulane, he graduated from the evening program of the Loyola University School of Law.
Dr. Sparks is a member of the American Intellectual Property Law Association and serves on the Biotechnology, Inter Partes Patent Proceedings, Licensing and Management of IP Assets, and Patent-Relations with the PTO committees of that organization. He also is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers. Dr. Sparks has lectured at national and international meetings on various patent and licensing topics, has published on various patent and legal topics, is an adjunct faculty member of the University of Virginia School of Law, and co-directs a law school clinic in patent law and licensing. He has served as a judge for the Modern Marvel patent contest sponsored by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and InventNow.org.