John S. Sears, JD, PhD, CLP

Principal and Founder

Education
J.D., Wake Forest University School of Law
Ph.D., Computational Materials Chemistry – Georgia Institute of Technology
B.Sc., Chemistry and Mathematics – The University of the South

Admissions
Georgia, Court of Appeals of Georgia, Supreme Court of Georgia, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Certifications and Registrations
Certified Licensing Professional
Registered Patent Attorney

Biography
After spending several years practicing in traditional law firms, John knew there had to be a better way to serve innovators and companies at every stage of development.

John founded Innovators Legal on the vision of developing responsive, long-lasting relationships with clients by integrating fully with their teams to allow for deep technical and business understanding. John’s interest in providing innovative solutions to his clients’ unique needs is made possible at Innovators Legal through the practical flexibility of a small firm, his investment in cutting-edge technology and excellent paralegal support, and his intentional hiring of practitioners with experience and skills beyond legal practice.

John’s background is diverse: he has experience running in-house IP operations and diligence efforts for venture capital and private equity groups investing in technology companies; running industry-sponsored research labs; teaching at leading research universities; working in early-stage startups and university tech-transfer offices; and managing and prosecuting complex patent portfolios. A PhD physical organic chemist and Certified Licensing Professional (CLP) as well as registered patent attorney, he can offer multi-dimensional legal, technical, and business perspective to clients seeking high-caliber legal and IP support that reflects an understanding of their technology and business.

John’s broad scientific background extends from mathematics and computer science to chemistry and material science. He has worked on and managed federally-sponsored and industry-sponsored research programs covering technologies ranging from homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis to materials development for organic electronics applications (including organic light-emitting diodes, organic photovoltaics, and organic thin-film transistors)and computational methods and software development for electronic structure computations. John has several years of both Linux and Windows computer system administration experience, is proficient in multiple programming languages, and is experienced in high-performance computing administration.

John is an accomplished researcher, author, and educator. John is an Adjunct Faculty at Wake Forest University School of Law, where he develops and teaches courses on intellectual property and business. Previously, John was on the faculty at Georgia Tech for five years where he worked jointly between the institute’s Center for Computational Molecular Science and Technology and Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics to develop and lecture courses on organic electronics and mentor numerous undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral researchers on industry-sponsored research programs in organic electronic materials.

John has authored or co-authored dozens of legal and technical publications, including publications in Journal of the American Chemical Society, Organic Electronics, Advanced Functional Materials, and Nature Communications as well as a book chapter in Organic Solar Cells: Fundamentals, Devices, and Upscaling published by Pan Stanford Publishing in 2014. John is also a contributor to The Wake Forest Journal of Business and Intellectual Property Law. In addition to his publication list, John has presented at a variety of national and international conferences and meetings, including national meetings of the American Chemical Society and the American Physical Society, the International Symposium on Functional π-Electron Systems, the European Conference on Molecular Electronics, and Gordon Research Conferences.

John continues to work with many university clients and understands the complex needs and demands of university technology transfer and licensing. He has years of experience leading academic research programs and working in university technology-transfer. John is active in the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) and frequently presents to university technology-transfer groups and at regional and national AUTM meetings.

John has drafted hundreds of patent applications covering biotechnology, chemistry, pharmaceutical, polymer science, materials science, nanotechnology, medical device, electronic device, and computer science innovations. John drafts and prosecutes U.S. patent applications, corresponds with foreign associates to guide the prosecution of foreign applications, provides strategic portfolio management to both U.S. and foreign clients, and develops patentability/FTO opinions.

Experience
Principal and Director of Intellectual Property (retained)- Anzu Partners
Adjunct Faculty – Wake Forest University School of Law
Attorney – Thomas Horstemeyer
Commercialization/Business Development – Wake Forest Innovations
Scientific Advisor – Pabst Patent Group
Research Faculty – Georgia Institute of Technology

Board and Advisory Board Positions
Member, Commercialization Advisory Board, NSF Engineering Research Center for Cell Manufacturing Technologies
Member, Board of Directors, Georgia Intellectual Property Alliance
Member, Board of Directors, Startup Runway Foundation

Memberships and Affiliations

Georgia Bar: Member, IP Section Member, Privacy and Technology Law Section Member
Atlanta Bar: Member, IP Section Member
Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM): Member,
American Bar Association (ABA): Member, IP Section Member, Science and Technology Law Section Member
American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA): Member
Georgia Intellectual Property Alliance (GIPA): Founder, Board Member (Venture Capital)
Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience: Venture Mentor
Licensing Executives Society (LES): Member

Dissertations and Theses
PhD Dissertation: Minimalistic Descriptions of Nondynamical Electron Correlation: From Bond-Breaking to Transition-Metal Catalysis
Undergraduate Thesis (Chemistry): Toward Understanding the Effects of Ion Coordination on the Local Dynamics of a Low Molecular Weight PEO
Undergraduate Thesis (Math): Critical Probabilities for Percolation on 2-Dimensional and 3-Dimensional Dynamic Lattices

Publications

  • “Chemical Stabilities of the Lowest Triplet State in Aryl Sulfones and Aryl Phosphine Oxides Relevant to OLED Applications,” H. Li, J.S. Sears, S.R. Marder, and J.L. Brédas, Chemistry of Materials 31(5), 1507-1519 (2019).
  • “Understanding the effects of electronic polarization and delocalization on charge-transport levels in oligoacene systems,” C. Sutton, N.R. Tummala, T. Kemper, S.G. Aziz, J.S. Sears, V. Coropceanu, and J.L. Brédas, J. Chem. Phys. 146, 224705 (2017).
  • “The Evolving Standard of Antitrust Analysis in Pharmaceutical Product Hopping,” J.S. Sears, Wake Forest Journal of Business and Intellectual Property Law (August 2015).
  • “Patent Reform in the 114th Congress,” J.S. Sears, Wake Forest Journal of Business and Intellectual Property Law (July 2015).
  • “Modelling the Electronic and Optical Processes in Organic Solar Cells: Density Functional Theory and Beyond,” in Organic Solar Cells: Fundamentals, Devices, and Upscaling, Eds. B.P. Rand and H. Richter, Pan Stanford Publishing (2014).
  • “Theoretical Study of the Local and Charge-Transfer Excitations in Model Complexes of Pentacene-C60 Using Tuned Range-Separated Hybrid Functionals,” C.R. Zhang, J.S. Sears, V. Coropceanu, and J.L. Brédas, J. Chem. Theor. Comput. 10, 2379-2388 (2014).
  • “Accurate description of torsion potentials in conjugated polymers using density functionals with reduced self-interaction error,” C. Sutton, T. Korzdorfer, M. Gray, M. Brunsfeld, R. Parrish, C.D. Sherrill, J.S. Sears, and J.L. Brédas, J. Chem. Phys. 140, 054310 (2014).
  • “Vibronic Coupling in the Ground State of Oligoacene Cations: The Performance of Range-Separated Hybrid Density Functionals,” C.R. Zhang, V. Coropceanu, J.S. Sears, and J.L. Brédas, J. Phys. Chem. C 118, 154-158 (2014).
  • “Understanding the Density Functional Dependence of DFT-Calculated Electronic Couplings in Organic Semiconductors,” C. C. Sutton, J.S. Sears, V. Coropceanu, and J.L. Brédas, J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 4, 919-924 (2013).
  • “Electronic Polarization Effects upon Charge Injection in Oligoacene Molecular Crystals: Description via a Polarizable Force Field,” S.M. Ryno, S.R. Lee, J.S. Sears, C.R. Risko, and J.L. Brédas, J. Phys. Chem. C 117, 13853-13860 (2013).
  • “Tuning the electronic and photophysical properties of heteroleptic iridium(III) phosphorescent emitters through ancillary ligand substitution: a theoretical perspective,” H. Li, P. Winget, C.R. Risko, J.S. Sears, and J.L. Brédas, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 15, 6293-6302 (2013).
  • “Lowest excited states and optical absorption spectra of donor–acceptor copolymers for organic photovoltaics: a new picture emerging from tuned long-range corrected density functionals,” L. Pandey, C. Doiron, J.S. Sears, and J.L. Brédas, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 14, 14243 (2012).
  • “On the relationship between bond-length alternation and many-electron self-interaction error,” T. Korzdorfer, R. Parrish, J.S. Sears, C.D. Sherrill, and J.L. Brédas, J. Chem. Phys. 137, 124305 (2012).
  • “Density Functional Theory for the Description of Charge Transfer Processes at TTF-TCNQ Interfaces,” T. Van Regemorter, M. Guillaume, G. Sini, J.S. Sears, V. Geskin, J.L. Brédas, D. Beljonne, and J. Cornil, Theor. Chem. Acc. 131, 1273 (2012). (Special Issue: “Theoretical and Computational Chemistry in Belgium”)
  • “Assessment of the performance of tuned range-separated hybrid density functionals in predicting accurate quasiparticle spectra,” T. Korzdorfer, R. Parrish, N. Marom, J.S. Sears, C.D. Sherrill, and J.L. Brédas, Phys. Rev. B 86, 205110 (2012).
  • “Evaluating the Performance of DFT Functionals in Assessing the Interaction Energy and Ground-state Charge Transfer of Donor/Acceptor Complexes: Tetrathiafulvalene-tetracyanoquinodimethane (TTF-TCNQ) as a Model Case,” G. Sini, J.S. Sears, and J.L. Brédas, Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation 602 (2011).
  • “High Efficiency Blue-Green Electrophosphorescent Light-Emitting Devices Using a Bis-Sulfone as Host in the Emitting Layer,” S.J. Kim, B. Kippelen, J. Leroy, C. Zuniga, Y. Zhang, L. Zhu, J.S. Sears, S. Barlow, J.L. Brédas, and S.R. Marder, Organic Electronics 12, 1314 (2011).
  • “Orbital Instabilities and Triplet States from Time-Dependent Density Functional Theory and Long-Range Corrected Functionals,” J.S. Sears, T. Koerzdoerfer, C. Zhang, and J.L. Brédas, Journal Of Chemical Physics 135, 151103 (2011).
  • “Long-Range Corrected Hybrid Functionals for p-Conjugated Systems: Dependence of the Range-Separation Parameter on Conjugation Length,” T. Koerzdoefer, J.S. Sears, C. Sutton, and J.L. Brédas, Journal Of Chemical Physics 135, 204107 (2011).
  • “Torsion Potential in Polydiacetylene: Accurate Computations on Oligomers Extrapolated to the Polymer Limit,” J.S. Sears, R.R. Chance, and J.L. Brédas, Journal of the American Chemical Society 132, 13313 (2010).
  • “Effects of Electronegative Substitution on the Optical and Electronic Properties of Acenes and Diazaacenes,” A.L. Appleton, S.M. Brombosz, S. Barlow, J.S. Sears, J.L. Brédas, S.R. Marder, and U.H.F. Bunz, Nature Communications 1, 91 (2010).
  • “An Error and Efficiency Analysis of Approximations to Møller−Plesset Perturbation Theory,” M.S. Marshall, J.S. Sears, L.A. Burns, J.L. Brédas, and D.C. Sherrill, Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation 6, 3681 (2010).
  • “Assessing the Performance of Density Functional Theory for the Electronic Structure of Metal Salens: The M06 Suite of Functionals and the d4-Metals,” T. Takatani, J.S. Sears, and C.D. Sherrill, CD Journal of Physical Chemistry A 114, 11714 (2010).
  • “Assessing the Performance of Density Functional Theory for the Electronic Structure of Metal-Salens: The d6-Metals,” T. Takatani, J.S. Sears, and C.D. Sherrill, Journal of Physical Chemistry A 113, 9231 (2009).
  • “Assessing the Performance of Density Functional Theory for the Electronic Structure of Metal-Salens: The d2 Metals,” J.S. Sears and C.D. Sherrill, Journal of Physical Chemistry A 112, 6471 (2008).
  • “Assessing the Performance of Density Functional Theory for the Electronic Structure of Metal-Salens: The 3d0-Metals,” J.S. Sears and C.D.Sherrill, Journal of Chemical Physics 112, 3466 (2008).
  • “The Electronic Structure of oxo-Mn(Salen): Single reference and Multi-Reference Approaches,” J.S. Sears and C.D. Sherrill, Journal of Chemical Physics 124, 144314 (2006).
  • “Investigations into the Stability of Tethered PdII Pincer Complexes During Heck Catalysis,” W.J. Sommer, K. Yu, J.S. Sears, Y. Ji, X. Zheng, R.J. Davis, C.D. Sherrill, C.W. Jones, and M. Weck, Organometallics 24, 4351 (2005).
  • “On the Choice of Reference in Multi-Reference Electronic Structure Theory,” J.S. Sears and C.D. Sherrill, N. C. Handy Issue, Molecular Physics 103, 803 (2005).
  • “A Spin-Complete Version of the Spin-Flip Approach to Bond Breaking: What is the Impact of Obtaining Spin Eigenfunctions?” J.S. Sears, A.I. Krylov, and C.D. Sherrill, Journal of Chemical Physics 118, 9084 (2003).


Presentations

  • “Drug Repurposing from a University Perspective,” J.S. Sears and R.T. Timmer, AUTM Professional Development Webinar (2019).
  • “Git Along, Little Dogies: Training New Technology Transfer Associates,” panel chaired at AUTM Western Region Meeting, Boulder CO (2018).
  • “Pending Patent Legislation Affecting Tech-Transfer,” panel chaired at Southeast Regional Technology Transfer Directors Meeting, Atlanta GA (2015).
  • “DFT Methods for Organic Electronics: Applications of Tuned Long-Range Corrected Functionals,” J.S. Sears and J.L. Brédas, American Physical Society Meeting, Boston MA (2012).
  • “Tuned Long-Range Corrected Density Functionals: The Dependence of the Range Separation upon the Conjugation Length,” T. Körzdörfer,J.S. Sears, and J.L. Brédas, Gordon Research Conference on TD-DFT Methods, Biddeford ME (2011).
  • “Developing Design Principles for Hosts and Emitters in Phosphorescent OLEDs,” J.S. Sears and J.L. Brédas, European Conference on Molecular Electronics, Barcelona Spain (2011).
  • “Performance of DFT Functionals for the study of the Tetrathiafulvalene(TTF)-Tetracyanoquinodimethane (TCNQ) Complex: Charge Transfer in the Ground State and Lowest Charge-Transfer Excited State,” G. Sini, J.S. Sears, and J.L. Brédas, 9th International Conference on Functional p-Electron Systems (Fpi9), Atlanta GA (2010).
  • “Single- and Multi-Reference Theoretical Approaches to the Description of Spin-Orbit Coupling in Cyclometalated Iridium Complexes,” J.S. Sears and J.L. Brédas, 9th International Conference on Functional p-Electron Systems (Fp9), Atlanta GA (2010).
  • “Single- and Multi-Reference Approaches for the Excited States of Organo-metallic Complexes,” J.S. Sears, Meeting on Excited State Processes in Electronic and Bio Nanomaterials, Santa Fe NM (2009).
  • “Assessing the Performance of Density Functional Theory for Metal-Salen Catalysis,” J.S. Sears and C.D. Sherrill, National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, New Orleans LA (2008).
  • “Assessing the Performance of Density Functional Theory for the Electronic structure of Metal- Salen Systems,” J.S. Sears and C.D. Sherrill, Southeastern Theoretical Chemistry Association Meeting, Blacksburg VA (2007).
  • “Electronic Structure of Oxo-Mn(Salen),” J.S. Sears and C.D. Sherrill, National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Atlanta GA (2006).
  • “Bimetallic Mechanism for the Hydrolytic Kinetic Resolution of Terminal Epoxides Catalyzed by Co(Salen): A theoretical study,” J.S. Sears and C.D. Sherrill, National meeting of the American Chemical Society, Atlanta GA (2006).
  • “Oxo-Mn(Salen): A Challenge for Electronic Structure Theory,” J.S. Sears and C.D. Sherrill, National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Washington DC (2005).
  • “Oxo-Mn(Salen): A Challenge for Electronic Structure Theory,” J.S. Sears and C.D. Sherrill, South East Theoretical Chemistry Association Meeting, Knoxville TN (2005).
  • “On the choice of Reference in Multi-Reference Electronic Structure Theory,” J.S. Sears and C.D. Sherrill, South East Theoretical Chemistry Association Meeting, Oxford MS (2004).
  • “A Spin-Complete Version of the Spin-Flip Approach to Bond Breaking: What is the Impact of Obtaining Spin Eigenfunctions?” J.S. Sears, C.D. Sherrill, and A.I. Krylov, South-East Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Atlanta GA (2003).
  • “Completing the Spin in the Spin-Flip Approach to Bond Breaking,” J.S. Sears, C.D. Sherrill, and A.I. Krylov, South-East Theoretical Chemistry Association Meeting, Clemson SC (2003).
  • “Developing Inexpensive Theoretical Methods for Breaking Chemical Bonds,” J.S. Sears and C.D. Sherrill, Spring National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, New Orleans LA (2003).