Jeffrey Depp

Jeffrey Depp, JD, MSIA

PhD Candidate
Thomas Edison Innovation Law and Policy Fellow

Candidate Biography

Jeff is currently the Chair of AUTM's Public Policy Legal Task Force Committee and the 2022 AUTM Volunteer of the Year. He is also a PhD candidate at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA). His coursework focused on public policy with a particular emphasis on economics, international political economy and policy research and analysis. His dissertation consists of an analysis of the current state of U.S. innovation from an Austrian economics perspective. His broader research interests include innovation policy at the intersection of economics, intellectual property (IP) law and anti-trust law. In addition, he is currently a Thomas Edison Innovation Law and Policy Fellow at the Center for Intellectual Property x Innovation Policy (C-IP2) in the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University. There he works closely with the center’s distinguished senior scholars on various aspects of his research.

Jeff was formerly a Technology Commercialization Manager at the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute.  In this hybrid role, he served simultaneously as an alliance, project and licensing manager.  For six (6) years, he was responsible for the assessment of life science and healthcare information technologies, their intellectual property protection and their further development and licensing. He is conversant in technologies ranging from immuno-oncology and antibody therapeutics to AI-driven predictive diagnostics and NLP.    

Prior to joining the Innovation Institute, he spent time working for a federal district court judge focused primarily on intellectual property and intellectual property litigation.  He also worked for three (3) years at a small law firm drafting and negotiating various types of agreements. 

Preceding his time working in the law, he spent over twenty-five (25) years in the pharmaceutical industry with Merck.  He performed various roles in manufacturing, sales and marketing, and business and advocate development. 

Jeff has a bachelor’s degree in chemical and biomedical engineering with concentrations in molecular biology fermentation technology from Carnegie Mellon.  He also holds a master’s degree in industrial administration (business) from Carnegie Mellon where he concentrated on international management, marketing and finance.  He earned his law degree from the Duquesne University School of Law with a focus on intellectual property and tax law.  He is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). 

Candidate Q&A

What experience do you have working on or with a strategic Board of Directors? 

In 2012, I founded and formed an advocacy and education-focused non-profit for my local allergy and immunology community named Greater Pittsburgh Allergy Asthma and Immunology Society (GPAAIS). I have been on the board from its founding. 

Please include a brief description of your volunteer experiences within AUTM. 

I have been a member of the Public Policy Advisory Committee since 2017. I have been a member of the Public Policy Legal Task Force (PPLTF) since March of 2017. I have been Chair of the PPLTF since June of 2021. In 2021, I received a Volunteer Service Award. In 2022, I received the Volunteer of the Year Award. 

Why do you want to join the AUTM Board of Directors? 

I love AUTM and it's mission. Technology transfer is such an important profession. It is crucial for our country's wealth and prosperity and for an advanced standard of living for our citizens. Its positive impact is not limited to the United States, however. Its impact is felt all over the world. AUTM is technology transfer's ambassador and its advocate. I want to help AUTM deliver on that mission. The people I've met in technology transfer are some of the finest people I've encountered professionally and they are truly unsung heroes and they have earned a strong ambassador and advocate. In addition, there are a number of related public policy matters that impact technology transfer such as intellectual property. AUTM has such an impactful voice in this space and I want to help AUTM use its voice to solve the problems in this space for the betterment of technology transfer, the United States and, by extension, the world. 

Have you served in a volunteer leadership role for other organizations? If so, please explain. 

Yes. I am the founder of GPAAIS and I have been an officer and board member from its formation. 

If elected by the Membership to the Board, would you consider serving as Chair? Please explain. 

Yes, once I am finished with my PhD dissertation. 

Please share personal strengths that you believe would be valuable to the AUTM Board and/or the strategic direction of the Association.

I am passionate, hard-working and dedicated to AUTM's mission. I have both formal training and relevant, real-world experience in the key components of technology transfer i.e., science and technology, business, law (IP law) and public policy. 

What special experience do you have in driving and implementing a strategic plan? 

One of my strengths is my ability to think on my feet and improvise in the face of adversity. So, when plans go awry (as they often do) due to circumstances beyond the control of anyone, I am able to step-forward quickly and help right the ship such that the desired outcome is achieved. 

How do terms of  the position (both responsibilities and time commitment) fit with your other responsibilities? Will you have any conflicts of commitment between your full-time position and your volunteer time on the AUTM Board? 

They fit well. No. While I am writing my PhD dissertation, I have the schedule flexibility I need to serve on the board. 

AUTM is committed to addressing issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion both on the Board and on behalf of our Members. Briefly describe how your experiences can contribute to the Association’s growth in this area. 

Whether it's working on group projects during my PhD coursework or working with diverse inventor groups during the preparation of a patent application or a project statement of work, I have seen firsthand how diverse ideas and opinions can lead to creative solutions to problems and better outcomes and I plan to draw on these experiences as I help AUTM too deliver on its mission. 

Advocacy for the innovation ecosystem is something AUTM has promoted recently.  How do you think AUTM should continue to be involved? 

I am a huge proponent of such advocacy and have been leading AUTM in that direction in my work on the PPAC and the PPLTF. It should continue and expand. It is to the benefit of technology transfer, our members, our country and countries all over the world. 

Is there anything else you would like AUTM Members to know about you before they vote? 

I look forward to returning to day-to-day technology transfer at the completion of my dissertation. No one will be more committed to AUTM or work harder in helping it deliver on its mission than I will.