Commercialization & Tech Transfer

Our attorneys and patent agents have unique backgrounds in transitioning early-stage inventions out of academic and federal labs, and into products that benefit society. In representing licensors, licensees, and spinouts, we know how to maneuver through the financials and regulations in a way that makes open innovation practical.

What are some of the ways we do this? 

CRADAs: Cooperative Research and Development Agreements

Because hundreds of U.S. federal labs use CRADAs as mechanisms for collaborative R&D, each lab adopts its own variations to sections like data control and intellectual property rights. The result? A federal template with thousands of nuances. If you’re looking to collaborate with the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Energy (DOE), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), or other federal research agency, we can help you secure the best possible terms in the best possible timing. We’ll also help you avoid unnecessary red tape, and the collaboration landmines that stymy your innovation.


Whether in-licensing or out-licensing for patents, trademarks, or copyrights, we’ll help you secure the terms you need for freedom of operation, optimal monetization, or collaborative iteration.

SBIR: Small Business Innovation Research / STTR: Small Business Technology Transfer

The SBIR + STTR programs represent a coordinated effort among federal agencies to enable small businesses (defined as fewer than 500 employees) to develop processes, technologies, and tools that meet the needs of their particular missions. Our attorneys provide a valuable liaison between your company and the granting agencies. We’ve served on review panels and assisted awardees on partnerships, IP strategies, patent filings, and regulatory approvals at every level. Let us assist your company at its earliest growth stages and position you for this valuable, non-dilutive funding.

Sponsored Research

Indirect costs, royalties, derivative invention rights, publication rights — we speak the language of tech transfer. Our attorneys and agents have backgrounds within the world’s most powerhouse tech transfer offices. Now we put those experiences to work for you. We build success strategies, develop relationships, and negotiate the most advantageous terms for your company’s sponsored research or joint research collaboration.

Rockridge® is categorically distinguishable from other firms in that our attorneys and agents have hands-on business and legal backgrounds commercializing technologies out of R&D environments. We’ve sat on SBIR review panels for agencies like the NIH and NSF as well as applied for funds in our own ventures. We’ve out-licensed platform technologies from world-class institutions and also in-licensed them. We personally know from multiple angles how best to build products for public benefit out of basic science environments. This applies not only to representation of individual companies but also to institutions, where we are adept at helping hospitals, labs, and universities create and optimize public-private research centers and innovation hubs.

In addition to our expertise in innovation and technology funding and commercialization, we represent Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, and civilian agency contractors at all phases of the public procurement process.  Our team has led negotiations with companies like Atomic Energy, BASF, Google, IBM, Intuitive Surgical, Perspecta, Booz Allen, Lockheed Martin, L-3 Technologies/Harris Corporation, Red Hat, Merck, and Samsung to catalyze innovation.

Our commercialization services include:

 Cooperative Research & Developments Agreements (CRADA)   Copyrights & Patents  Investor Agreements
 SBIR Phase I/II Applications   SBIR Phase III / Sole   Source  Sponsored Research Agreements
 Startups  Technology License Agreements   Venture Capital Deals

Associated Blogs, Presentations, Publications

ArticlesForming and Funding
January 18, 2021

Finders: Compensation for Connecting Investors & Startups

Photo by Josh Woroniecki via Pexels. Startups and emerging companies often require large amounts of capital to get off the ground or to scale.  With a lack of significant revenue…
ArticlesForming and Funding
November 30, 2020

Aligning Stakeholder Interests: Employee Equity Compensation

A crucial factor in scaling a business is the ability to obtain, retain, and motivate a talented workforce. Turnover can cost employers 33% of an employee’s annual salary and others…
ArticlesForming and Funding
October 22, 2020

Anatomy of a Seed Round 

Anatomy of a Seed Round: Early Stage Equity Fundraising Being a young professional and new mother, no one knows quite like Sarah that there just aren’t enough hours in the…
ArticlesForming and Funding
May 28, 2019

SECsy for the Sharks: Tips on Creating and Delivering Startup Pitches that Meet Federal Regulatory Requirements

As an advisor to multiple entrepreneurship centers, I see a lot of pitches. Consistently they overstate markets and often undistinguished total addressable markets; this is to be expected. Increasingly, they…
ArticlesForming and Funding
January 10, 2019

Common Mistakes Made by Entrepreneurs

Being an entrepreneur is not easy. In order to succeed, you need a marketable idea, a solid team to rely on, and an incredible amount of energy and determination. You…
ArticlesForming and FundingGovernment Contracts
January 10, 2019

SBIR – An Entrepreneur’s Best Source of Early-Stage, Non-Dilutive Funding

What is this SBIR? The absolute first thing you should know about the Small Business Innovation Research program is that it's acronym is articulated sequentially by letter (i.e., "S-B-I-R").  …

Lead Attorney / Agent Profiles

Kevin Christopher


• B Corp Best For The World
• Berkeley Form + Fund Fellow
• Conscious Company® Top 22 Business Leader
• NIH RADx Faculty Member
• Real Leaders® Top 150
• Registered Patent Attorney
• SuperLawyers® Mid-South
• Yale CBE Business Leader


Andrew Lerner, Ph.D.

Patent Lead

• B Corp Best For The World
• Berkeley Form + Fund Fellow
• NIH RADx Faculty Member
• Real Leaders® Top 150
• Registered Patent Agent