Rodney L. Sparks is currently senior biotechnology patent counsel for the University of Virginia Patent Foundation. He joined the Patent Foundation in 2004 from the well-known intellectual property group at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, in Philadelphia. His practice concentrated on biotechnology, pharmaceutical and chemical patent issues, including medicine and gene therapy. He represented a variety of clients in the United States and abroad, including universities, biotechnology companies and pharmaceutical companies. Prior to working at Drinker, he was at Morgan, Lewis and Bockius LLP, in Philadelphia.
After obtaining his Ph.D., Sparks completed postdoctoral training in the cellular and molecular biology of cancer at the Johns Hopkins University and at the Mayo Clinic. He then was a member of the faculty in the Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine and at the Tulane Medical School. While on the faculty at Tulane, he attended law school at night in the evening program at Loyola of New Orleans.
Sparks' current focus includes overseeing outside patent counsel, drafting, and prosecuting patents in the pharmaceutical and biological sciences, preparing opinions, and providing counseling on patent matters. He also is responsible for providing counsel on government reporting matters for the Patent Foundation and teaches law students in Patent and Licensing Clinic I and Patent and Licensing Clinic II of the University of Virginia School of Law.
Sparks is a member of the American Intellectual Property Law Association and belongs to the "Biotechnology," "Interference," and "Relations with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office" committees of that organization. He also is a member of the Licensing Executives Society and of the Association of University Technology Managers. Sparks has served in various consulting capacities for several agencies of the U.S. government. He also recently served as a judge for the Modern Marvel patent contest sponsored by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and InventNow.org.