UT Austin Names Director for Commercialization Efforts

The University of Texas at Austin has appointed Dan Sharp, a veteran intellectual property and technology lawyer, to be the director of the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) and associate vice president for research.

Sharp's appointment, effective Jan. 1, comes after an extensive search of candidates and a review of leading technology commercialization offices across the country.

"Dan Sharp is uniquely qualified to lead the university's technology transfer efforts," said Juan Sanchez, the university's vice president for research. "His approach to commercialization is fully aligned with our aspirations to continue to enhance the transition of technologies developed at the university for commercialization by the private sector."

During the past decade, the Office of Technology Commercialization has processed nearly 1,400 invention disclosures and earned the university nearly $115 million in licensing revenue. The office has filed 1,860 U.S. and foreign patent applications and received 525 issued patents during that time. Further, OTC has executed more than 275 licenses and created approximately 65 startup companies during the same time with 45 of those companies in Texas.

"My vision for OTC is to diligently work with partners inside and outside of the university to spur innovation and bring the research performed by our world-renowned faculty to the marketplace," Sharp said. "We will continue working with faculty to identify and protect intellectual property (IP) and to market that IP. The efficient transfer of these innovations to the private sector is critical. I am very pleased to have this opportunity to work for my alma mater and to be able to help create jobs and spur innovation."

Sharp previously served as the associate director of intellectual property and licensing at OTC and has served as interim director of the office for the past year.

"Technology commercialization is an increasingly important function within the university. Not only does it help support the university financially, it represents a crucial bridge for getting knowledge and discovery from the campus to society at large," said Bill Powers, president of The University of Texas at Austin. "I'm delighted Dan Sharp will be leading this critical office."

As director, Sharp will oversee all business of the OTC, including the management of IP and licensing and the fostering of startup companies based on the university's technologies and IP. He will provide counsel related to commercialization activities and strengthen relationships between OTC, faculty members and the private sector.

Prior to joining OTC, Sharp practiced law most recently at McKool Smith PC, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati PC, focusing on intellectual property and technology law. In private practice, Sharp litigated patent cases and handled corporate transactions and licensing in Silicon Valley and Austin.

He served as a law clerk to the Hon. T. John Ward in the Marshall Division of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Sharp is a member of the state bars of California and Texas. He received his J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law and B.S. in electrical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.