Seth Levy

Seth D. Levy

Seth focuses his practice on intellectual property protection, licensing, strategy, and disputes, as well as research transactions and operations, particularly in life sciences and health care. He handles a range of technology and clinical research matters, and advises technology transfer programs at academic and health care institutions. Seth also acts as outside general counsel to technology-driven companies. He is co-chair of the firm’s Life Sciences practice.

What do you focus on?

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 and life sciences companies in technology and research-driven transactions. I also work with companies in the private sector that do business with these institutions. My work in this area includes drafting and negotiating license agreements, joint research and development agreements, clinical trial agreements, sponsored research agreements, consulting agreements, and a range of other corporate transactions to effectuate deals in the arenas of research, health care, and IP.

Outside General Counsel

I serve as outside general counsel to emerging growth and mid-stage life sciences companies, supporting their businesses in this complex ecosystem. Coordinating with other specialists at the firm when needed, I guide our clients’ fundraising efforts, intellectual property strategy, partnering deals, board governance matters, and their full range of operational issues.

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 will become more active enforcers of their IP against infringers. I expect these institutions to increasingly leverage litigation to enhance their licensing efforts.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to drive and inform research, development and commercialization efforts throughout the life sciences sector. Practical and efficient deal-making and creative collaborations will be key to addressing worldwide public health issues and to otherwise meet the unique needs of this moment, whether through new treatments, vaccines and medical devices or other technologies such as telemedicine and digital health innovations.


  • “Life Sciences Collaborations During the Pandemic,” USC Stevens Center for Innovation and USC Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors, Webinar, July 29, 2020
  • “Startup Investing in a Changing Landscape,” Sustainable Change Alliance, Webinar, July 15, 2020
  • “Collaborations During the Pandemic: Issues and Tips When Considering Partnerships,” BioLabs@NYULangone, Webinar, June 3, 2020
  • “Intellectual Property Issues in Clinical Trials Agreements," UCLA In-House Team, Los Angeles, CA, March 11, 2020
  • “Legal Issues for International Healthtech Companies," Cedars-Sinai Innovation Space, Los Angeles, CA, March 5, 2020
  • “Direct Enforcement of University IP—A Case Study of UC Santa Barbara’s Enforcement of Patent Rights Against Retailers,” AUTM 2019 Eastern Region Meeting, Raleigh, NC, October 3, 2019, and AUTM 2019 Western Region Meeting, Seattle, WA, September 20, 2019
  • “Advocacy 101,” It Gets Better Global Summit, New York, NY, June 27, 2019
  • “Corporate Perspectives on Sourcing Early-Stage Innovation,” USC Innovation Summit, Los Angeles, CA, March 27, 2019
  • “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, August 9, 2018, February 1, 2019, and July 26, 2019
  • “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

Representative Experience

Technology Transfer

  • Represent The Regents of the University of California in a groundbreaking patent enforcement campaign to protect its rights in a revolutionary new generation of light bulb technology known as filament LED that was invented by a Nobel laureate-led team at UC Santa Barbara. The campaign includes litigation before the U.S. International Trade Commission, the U.S. District Courts for the Central District of California and Eastern District of New York, and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  • Represent 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, equity investments, research and technology development collaborations and IP enforcement. A recent matter involved protecting the IP rights in a UV light therapy that combats secondary infections associated with COVID-19 and supporting licensing and third-party research contracting issues to develop a prototype and bring the technology to market.
  • Represent the Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration, a NYC-based tissue bank, in establishing research and license agreements with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai in order for Mt. Sinai researchers to train Eye-Bank personnel to isolate retinal pigment epithelial cells from donated tissue for use in research and other purposes.
  • Represent UC Santa Barbara in several iterations of negotiations with one of its biotech spinoffs. This work included restructuring UC Santa Barbara’s equity and license relationship with the company to address the complexities of the company’s sublicensing partnerships with numerous pharmaceutical companies.
  • 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.
  • Represent the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) with a range of patent prosecution matters.
  • Represent the University of Southern California (USC) with a range of patent prosecution and tech transfer matters.
  • Represented Brown University in revising the template agreements for its tech transfer office.

IP and Research Transactions and Outside General Counsel

  • 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 focused on the development of stem cell technologies.
  • Represent Emmaus Medical, Inc., a specialty pharma company focused on rare and orphan diseases, such as sickle cell disease, for which the company’s Endari™ therapeutic has been approved, in clinical research matters, international pharmaceutical manufacturing, distribution and compassionate use transactions, and a series of research and licensing transactions with The Lundquist Institute.
  • Serve as outside general counsel to Serimmune Inc., an immune intelligence company developing new approaches for preventing, diagnosing, and treating a range of diseases. Recent matters included a research collaboration with Atreca, using Serimmune’s Serum Epitope Repertoire Analysis (SERA) platform to identify the targets of Atreca’s anti-cancer antibodies, and a collaboration with Twist Bioscience to identify and evaluate SARS-CoV-2 therapeutic antibody candidates from Twist’s libraries using Serimmune's SERA platform.
  • Represent Codagenix, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing prophylactic vaccines and oncolytic virus therapies, in a range of research and licensing transactions with both private-sector and government agencies, for its human and animal health programs. A recent matter involved the company’s collaboration with the Serum Institute of India to rapidly co-develop a live-attenuated COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Represent Iotron Industries, a Canadian nuclear technology company, in various matters pertaining to its manufacture of copper-67 for radiopharmaceutical use, including various license and research transactions with Argonne National Laboratory.
  • Represent the NARBHA Institute (f/k/a Northern Arizona Regional Behavioral Health Authority, Inc.), a nonprofit organization designated by the Arizona Department of Health Services to plan, implement, fund, monitor, and administer publicly funded comprehensive behavioral health services in Northern Arizona, in establishing a collaboration with TGen North to advance human health through the TGen One Health Collaborative—an initiative that recognizes the interdependence of people, animals, and plants in both the human-built and natural environments.
  • Represented Alphazyme, a developer, manufacturer, and global distributor of molecular biology enzymes, in a sub-licensing agreement with Dyadic International, a global biotechnology company focused on improving and applying its proprietary C1 expression system to help drug developers and manufacturers bring biologic drugs to market. The sub-licensing agreement includes an equity stake, milestone payments, and royalties upon the commercialization of C1-expressed Alphazyme products.
  • Represented HealthDent Technology International in the sale of its gutta-percha material technology business to Dentsply Sirona, a dental equipment maker and dental consumables producer.
  • Represent El Camino Hospital in connection with clinical trial agreements with various medical device companies.
  • Represented Global Pediatric Surgical Technology and Education Project, Inc. (a/k/a GPSTEP), a California-based nonprofit, in its collaboration with medical device manufacturer, SunMed, LLC, to distribute affordable surgical equipment to pediatric surgeons around the world.

Universities should consider ITC for IP protection

Tech Transfer Tactics | February 18, 2020

Intellectual Property partners Evan Langdon of Washington, DC, and Shawn Hansen and Seth Levy of Los Angeles co-wrote this article explaining how the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) can be a “powerfully effective venue” for patent protection. Evan, Shawn, and Seth are leading the NP team representing the University of California in an investigation pending at the ITC concerning LED lightbulb technology. Read the full article on

What the University of California case means for retailers and IP in the supply chain

TotalRetail | February 13, 2020

This article analyzes the potential for lasting implications to the global supply chain as a result of the University of California’s (UC) patent enforcement campaign against several retailers selling filament LED lightbulbs. Los Angeles Intellectual Property partners Seth Levy and Shawn Hansen are the lead attorneys representing UC.

Central Coast tech firms, UCSB use litigation to protect patents

Pacific Coast Business Times | February 07, 2020

The article mentions Nixon Peabody’s ongoing representation of the Regents of the University of California in UC Santa Barbara’s patent enforcement matter, noting that a recent $1.1 billion verdict for the California Institute of Technology in another matter could bode well for UC Santa Barbara. Los Angeles Intellectual Property partners Seth Levy and Shawn Hansen are the lead attorneys representing UC.

Think universities are making lots of money from inventions? Think again

The Hechinger Report | January 17, 2020

In this article about the ways universities succeed or fail in monetizing their intellectual property, Los Angeles Intellectual Property partner Seth Levy talks about NP’s patent enforcement work on behalf of the University of California.

University of California targets General Electric in campaign against patent infringement

Tech Transfer Central | January 08, 2020

This article quotes Los Angeles Intellectual Property partner Seth Levy discussing Nixon Peabody’s representation of the University of California, which has sued General Electric as part of its ongoing campaign to enforce its patents on LED lightbulb technology. Seth and Los Angeles Intellectual Property partner Shawn Hansen are leading the NP team.

UCSB adds GE to lawsuit defending LED patents

Pacific Coast Business Times | January 02, 2020

Los Angeles Intellectual Property partner Seth Levy is quoted in this story covering the latest developments in UC Santa Barbara’s patent enforcement campaign to protect its LED lightbulb technology, including the addition of General Electric as a defendant. Seth and Los Angeles Intellectual Property partner Shawn Hansen are leading the NP team.

ITC to Probe Amazon, Walmart, Others in LED Patent Case

Law360 | August 29, 2019

This article highlights recent developments in the University of California’s campaign to protect its rights related to filament LED technology developed at UC Santa Barbara. On Wednesday, the U.S. International Trade Commission opened an investigation in response to UC’s complaint, filed in July by the Nixon Peabody team led by Los Angeles Intellectual Property partners Seth Levy and Shawn Hansen.

Ikea, Amazon, and the billion-dollar war over light bulb design

Fast Company | August 02, 2019

This article highlights the University of California’s campaign to protect its rights related to filament LED technology developed at the university. An NP team led by Los Angeles Intellectual Property partners Seth Levy and Shawn Hansen is representing UC in this campaign.

It Gets Better CEO: For LGBTQ Professionals in Big Law, It Is Getting Better

Recorder/ | June 28, 2019

This article, about the progress big law firms have made in support of the LGBTQ community, highlights Los Angeles Intellectual Property partner Seth Levy and his role as chairman and CEO of the It Gets better Project. The story also links to Nixon Peabody’s It Gets Better video.

‘It Gets Better’ CEO Seth Levy on being out in BigLaw

Law360 | June 20, 2019

Los Angeles Intellectual Property partner Seth Levy talks about his involvement with the It Gets Better Project and his experience as an openly gay man in the legal profession.

‘It Gets Better’ CEO Seth Levy on being out in BigLaw

Law360 | June 20, 2019

Los Angeles Intellectual Property partner Seth Levy talks about his involvement with the It Gets Better Project and his experience as an openly gay man in the legal profession. Click here to read the full article.

LGBT pride: Weighing the state of equality in the law

Law360 | May 31, 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.


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

  • Managing Intellectual Property—Recognized as an “IP Star” (2020)
  • The Best Lawyers in America© 2020 and 2021 in the field of Biotechnology and Life Sciences Practice
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business for Life Sciences: Corporate/Commercial in California (2009–present)
  • IAM Patent 1000—Ranked as a leading California lawyer for transactions and prosecution (2014–2020)
  • IAM Strategy 300—Ranked as one of the world’s leading IP strategists for licensing and technology transfer (2019)
  • “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)
  • Los Angeles Advisory Board, Biocom
  • Chairman, Board of Directors, It Gets Better Project

To Live and Law in LA
Subscribe to Live & Law in LA, our podcast on the innovations, industries, and laws impacting Los Angeles and shaping its future.

Back to top