Seth D. Levy

Seth Levy focuses his practice on intellectual property protection, licensing, strategy and disputes, particularly in life sciences and health care. He also handles a range of technology and clinical research transactions, and advises technology transfer programs at academic and health care institutions. Seth served as managing partner of the firm’s Los Angeles office from 2013–2017, and is co-chair of the firm’s Life Sciences practice.

What do you focus on?

My practice encompasses two main areas, leveraging my background in biological engineering and experience in business transactions.

Technology Transfer

I support tech transfer programs at universities, research institutes and academic medical centers. My experience includes patent procurement and portfolio management, coordinating complex research arrangements, negotiating commercial transactions involving IP, resolving related disputes and coordinating IP enforcement activities. I also advise on the development and expansion of tech transfer programs; the operation of incubators, accelerators and venture funds; and the revision of institutional IP policies to reflect contemporary tech transfer issues. I am intimately familiar with tech transfer operations and the unique environment in which these programs exist.

IP and Research Transactions

I represent academic and health care institutions in technology and research-driven transactions. I also work with companies in the private sector that do business with such institutions. My work in this area includes drafting and negotiating license agreements, research and development agreements, clinical trial agreements, consulting agreements and a range of other agreements to effectuate deals in the arenas of research, health care and intellectual property.

What do you see on the horizon?

Technology transfer offices at academic institutions are developing and deploying increasingly sophisticated programs and service offerings to enhance their institution’s research activities, de-risk their innovations, generate revenue, benefit the public and stimulate economic growth.

I believe technology transfer offices are also on the verge of becoming progressively more active enforcers of their IP against infringers. I expect these institutions to increasingly leverage litigation (or the legitimate threat of it) to enhance their licensing efforts.


  • “Current Trends in Sublicensing Academic IP,” University of California Fall IP Managers Systemwide Meeting, Santa Cruz, CA, November 6, 2018
  • “Advancing the University’s Mission Through the Monetization of Intellectual Property,” AUTM 2017 Eastern Region Meeting, Boston, MA, October 3, 2017
  • “Preparing Life Sciences Companies for Chinese Opportunities,” Office of Economic Development, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles, CA, July 18, 2017
  • “Building an IP Strategy,” LA BioStart Legal Basics Program, Los Angeles, CA, July 14, 2017
  • “Introduction to Tech Transfer,” LA Bioscience Hub, Los Angeles, CA, June 16, 2017
  • “Navigating Through the Fog: Launching a Startup While Avoiding the Reefs,” UCSB Office of Technology & Industry Alliances, Santa Barbara, CA, May 11, 2017
  • “Legal Issues for Digital Health Companies,” Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Healthcare Accelerator, Los Angeles, CA, February 16, 2017
  • “Licensing IP from Universities,” Biocom Lunch & Learn at Lab Launch Inc., Monrovia, CA, January 19, 2017
  • “U.S. Patent Law Update,” The 2016 Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) Life Science Conference, Brighton, UK, November 15, 2016
  • “Legal Issues in Supporting a New Innovation Center,” Higher Education Real Estate Lawyers Conference (HEREL) Conference, Manchester, NH, September 16, 2016
  • “U.S. Trends in Technology Transfer,” Farrer & Co. Roundtable Session, London, UK, October 2014
  •  “Biotech Claims Drafting,” The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys Seminar, London, UK, October 2014


  • “Intellectual Property and Publication Issues in Clinical Trial Agreements,” American Health Lawyers Association Member Briefing, April 2013
  • “Patent Protection in Medicine and Biotechnology: An Overview,” Journal of Health and Life Sciences Law, June 2011
  • “License Lessons: Don’t overlook key elements in patent-related licensing agreements,” GC California, Nov./Dec. 2009

Representative Experience

  • Assist Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a nonprofit hospital and multi-specialty academic health science center, on a range of patent prosecution and tech transfer matters, including licensing and spin-off transactions, research and technology development collaborations and IP enforcement. A recent matter involved the licensing and enforcement of patent rights on methods of diagnosing and treating irritable bowel syndrome (“IBS”), a chronic condition affecting more than 15% of the general population. Cedars-Sinai doctors invented groundbreaking treatments for IBS, and the NP team helped Cedars-Sinai patent these discoveries and license them to Salix Pharmaceuticals. After Actavis Laboratories FL, Inc. sought FDA approval to market a generic competitor drug, NP represented Cedars-Sinai in litigation with its licensees against the infringing generic competitor.
  • Represented CHA Biotech Co., Ltd., a Korean-based biotech company, in forming and managing a series of issues through a joint venture called Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine, Inc., which was established with Ocata Therapeutics, Inc. (f/k/a Advanced Cell Technology, Inc.) before Ocata was acquired by Astellas. The joint venture focuses on the development of stem cell technologies.
  • Represent the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in several iterations of negotiations with one of its biotech spinoffs. This work included restructuring UCSB’s equity and license relationship with the company to address the complexities of the company’s sublicensing partnerships with numerous pharmaceutical companies.
  • Assist the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) with a range of patent prosecution matters.
  • Assist the University of Southern California (USC) with a range of patent prosecution matters.
  • Represented CardioVax, a biopharma company which develops novel antibody therapeutics for patients with high-risk coronary heart disease and other inflammation-driven diseases, in a global licensing agreement involving its drug Orticumab with BioInvent International AB.
  • Represent Dignity Health, a California-based not-for-profit public-benefit corporation that operates hospitals and ancillary care facilities in several states, in patent prosecution matters as well as a range of other technology transfer issues, including revising its IP policy, supporting its material transfer agreement (MTA) contracting for its internal biobanks and other exchanges of research materials and representing it in multiple license negotiations for biotech and digital health technologies.

LGBT pride: Weighing the state of equality in the law

Law360 | June 01, 2018

San Francisco office managing partner Tom Gaynor and Los Angeles intellectual property partner Seth Levy are quoted in this story on the strides LGBT attorneys have made in the legal industry.

Hop on the Justice Bus: Next stop? Citizenship

NPR | August 27, 2017

Los Angeles office managing partner Seth Levy, partner Justin Thompson and associate Jessica Walker are quoted in this article about the Los Angeles office’s pro bono work with OneJustice’s Justice Bus to help low-income immigrant Green Card holders seeking U.S. citizenship.

Overview: Big law gets smaller

American Lawyer | October 31, 2016

This article features a number of new law firm office spaces. Los Angeles office managing partner Seth Levy is quoted in this article talking about NP's new Los Angeles office and some of its unique features including the outdoor rooftop terrace.

Market Pressures Forcing Firms to Rethink Office Space

Daily Journal | September 30, 2016

Los Angeles office managing partner Seth Levy is quoted in this article on how law firms are reevaluating their real estate needs. Seth references our approach to no corner offices and more collaboration areas in our new space.

Transforming a Dinosaur: How the Legal Field is Embracing the Diversity Challenge

Huffington Post | September 01, 2016

Manager of diversity & inclusion Rekha Chiruvolu, Los Angeles office managing partner Seth Levy and Los Angeles public finance associate Jade Turner-Bond are quoted in this article that highlights Nixon Peabody’s efforts to create an inclusive workplace.

Grid110 - How a Group of Diverse Entrepreneurs are Shaping the Tech Ecosystem in Downtown LA

Huffington Post | April 19, 2016

Los Angeles office managing partner Seth Levy is quoted in this article about Grid110, a start-up fashion tech organization with which Nixon Peabody is very involved.


Seth D. Levy

Co-chair, Life Sciences Practice

Los Angeles

Phone: 213-629-6161

Fax: 877-644-1571

University of Southern California Law School, J.D.

Cornell University, B.S., Agricultural & Biological Engineering, cum laude


District of Columbia


U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

U.S. District Court, Central District of California

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business for Life Sciences: Corporate/Commercial in California (2009–present)
  • Leading California lawyer for transactions and prosecution by IAM Patent 1000 (2014–present)
  • The Legal 500 United States for Healthcare: Life Sciences (2013)
  • Daily Journal’s “25 Leading Biotech Lawyers in California” (2011)
  • Daily Journal’s “Top 20 Under 40” lawyers in California (2011)
  • “Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40,” National LGBT Bar Association (2010)
  • Inaugural recipient, Paul Davis Memorial Award for outstanding leadership in pro bono work, University of Southern California Law School (2004)
  • Jack Berman Award of Achievement, recognizing a young lawyer who has provided outstanding service to the legal profession and public, as well as dedication to issues of concern to new and young lawyers, California State Bar (2005)
  • Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services, four-time recipient, California State Bar
  • Los Angeles Advisory Board, Biocom
  • Board of Directors, OneJustice
  • Board of Directors, It Gets Better Project
  • Member, Science, Technology and Research Advisory Board, California Technology Council
  • Past Chair, Life Sciences Practice Group, American Health Lawyers Association

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