Daniel Sharp, former interim director of the Office of Technology Commercialization, appointed director

Christine Ayala

UT has appointed Dan Sharp as the director of the Office of Technology Commercialization after he took the lead as interim director a year ago.

Sharp became interim director after previous director Richard Miller resigned because of a conflict of interest by licensing UT technology to companies in which he held stock.

The office assesses discoveries and inventions made by UT researchers and faculty in order to pursue patents and analyze commercial applications and potential markets to help products succeed in the market place. The office helps connect theoretical research and start-up business ideas to products and services with industry and investors.

“Sometimes there is a bit of misconception about what we are commercializing,” Sharp said. “People may think we’re using already-made products or prototypes. The majority of the time we’re commercializing an invention that exists only in a lab notebook or a scientific journal.”

Sharp is a alumnus of the UT Cockrell School of Engineering and Lyndon B. Johnson School of Law. Sharp said that his experience as an intellectual property lawyer prior to joining the office influenced his focus as interim director.

“We’re going to continue what we’ve been doing over the past year focusing on education for faculty and researchers across the board, protecting intellectual property, obtaining quality patents and licensing technology out to the private sector, using the research that is being done at UT for the public good.”

Sharp said his time as interim director helped build a network of contacts throughout campus that will be valuable in his new permanent position.

Juan Sanchez, the vice president for research, said Sharp’s year as interim director was a positive experience and as director, Sharp will continue to enhance the work done to commercialize researchers’ work.

“I have appointed him to the post with the conviction that he will raise commercialization at UT Austin to the next level,” Sanchez said. “His knowledge and experience in intellectual property protection and licensing has improved both the quality of our patent filings and the agility and terms of our licensing deals. He is thorough, knowledgeable and communicates extremely well with UT’s internal and external stakeholders.”

In cooperation with the office, Sharp said the College of Pharmacy has developed UT’s highest grossing patent on technology to make tamper-proof Oxycontin. M. Lynn Crismon, dean of the college, said Sharp has made connections with faculty during his time as interim director.

“Mr. Sharp has reached out to us and he has been positive in his interactions,” Crismon said. “He truly appears committed to positively facilitating faculty efforts to license intellectual property. He has experience in preparing patents for submission, and he is well prepared to assume the duties as director of OTC.”

Sharp said besides commercializing products and ideas his vision for the office includes symposiums with faculty and researchers.

“There will be lectures focused on intellectual property or technology licensing but we also try to address the issues that are unique to the academic environment,” Sharp said. “We also want to hear feedback from the faculty.”

Published on January 14, 2013 as "Sharp promoted to director of tech office".