John S. Sears, Ph.D.



Law School

Wake Forest University, J.D.


Georgia Institute of Technology, Ph.D. in Chemistry
Thesis: “Minimalist Descriptions of Nondynamical Electron Correlation: From Bond-Breaking to Transition-Metal Catalysis”

The University of the South, B.Sc. in Chemistry and Mathematics (with honors)
Thesis (Chemistry): “Effects of Ion Concentration on the Site-Specific Dynamics of a Low Molecular Weight Ion-conducting Polymer”
Thesis (Math): “Critical Probabilities for Percolation on 2-Dimensional and 3-Dimensional Lattices”

practice areas



Please see my publication list with links on my linkedin page.


Bringing a diverse background to the table, John is able to support clients at every stage of technology development. He has experience running industry-sponsored research labs, teaching at leading research universities, working in early-stage startups and university tech-transfer offices, and managing and prosecuting complex patent portfolios. John has worked with numerous university clients, venture capital groups, early- and mid-stage startups, through larger multi-national corporations.

John has drafted over 200 patent applications covering biotechnology, chemistry, pharmaceutical, polymer science, materials science, nanotechnology, medical device, electronic device, and computer science innovations. John drafts and prosecutes U.S. patent applications, corresponds with foreign associates to guide the prosecution of foreign applications, provides strategic portfolio management to both U.S. and foreign clients, and develops patentability/FTO opinions.

John’s broad scientific background extends from mathematics and computer science to chemistry and material science. He has worked on and managed federally-sponsored and industry-sponsored research and development programs covering technologies ranging from homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, to materials development for organic electronics applications, including organic light-emitting diodes, organic photovoltaics, and organic thin-film transistors, to computational methods and software development for electronic structure computations. John has several years of both Linux and Windows computer system administration experience, is proficient in multiple programming languages, and is experienced in high-performance computing administration.

After completing his Ph.D. and prior to joining Thomas Horstemeyer, John worked in a faculty position at Georgia Tech for five years, worked as a private consultant for industry and academia for two years, and worked for two years at an intellectual property boutique. At Georgia Tech, John worked jointly between the institute’s Center for Computational Molecular Science and Technology and Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics, where he developed and lectured courses on organic electronics and mentored numerous undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral researchers on industry-sponsored research programs in organic electronic materials. At the intellectual property boutique, he gained extensive experience in biotechnology, chemistry, pharmaceuticals, material science, and medical device patent prosecution working with both university and industry clients.

John works with many university clients and understands the complex needs and demands of university technology transfer and licensing. He has years of experience leading academic research programs and working in university technology-transfer. John is active in the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) and frequently presents to university technology-transfer groups. John is also an active member in the University IP Committee of the IP Law section of the American Bar Association.

John is an accomplished author, having authored or co-authored numerous legal and technical publications. He has published technical publications in top-tier journals including Journal of the American Chemical Society, Organic Electronics, Advanced Functional Materials, and Nature Communications as well as a book chapter in Organic Solar Cells: Fundamentals, Devices, and Upscaling published by Pan Stanford Publishing in 2014. John is also a contributor to The Wake Forest Journal of Business and Intellectual Property Law.

In addition to his publication list, John has presented at a variety of national and international conferences and meetings, including national meetings of the American Chemical Society and the American Physical Society, the 9th International Symposium on Functional π-Electron Systems, the 11th European Conference on Molecular Electronics, the 2011 Gordon Research Conference on Time-Dependent Density-Functional Theory, and the 2015 Southeast Region Technology Transfer Directors meeting.



United States Patent and Trademark Office


John is a member of the American Bar Association (ABA), Georgia Bar Association, Association of University Technology Managers, American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, Technology Association of Georgia, and Georgia Bio. Within the ABA, John is active in the IP law section and the University IP Committee.


CALI Excellence for the Future Award for Highest Grade in Patent Prosecution Seminar

CALI Excellence for the Future Award for Highest Grade in Entertainment Law

CALI Excellence for the Future Award for Highest Grade in Comparative Proportional Liability in Tort Law

Ken and Martha Howard Scholarship Recipient, Wake Forest University

Top-20 reviewer for The Journal of Chemical Physics,

Best presentation, Meeting of the Southeast Theoretical Chemistry Association, Clemson SC

Presidential Fellowship, Georgia Institute of Technology

Robert Hooke Prize for achievement in mathematics, The University of the South

Puckette Award for academic excellence, The University of the South

Bruce-Greene Fellow, The University of the South

Welch Foundation Scholar, The University of the South