Dr. John J. Kaplan serves as the Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Technology Transfer Program (TTP). Dr. Kaplan received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico and his J.D. from the George Mason University School of Law. Dr. Kaplan also achieved a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Virginia Military Institute, a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology and a M.B.A. from Marymount University. Dr. Kaplan is licensed to practice law in Virginia and the District of Columbia and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Dr. Kaplan became the TTP director in April 2016. He manages the entire technology transfer program for the $1 billion per year VA research enterprise, which includes 130 medical facilities and thousands of researchers. His office is responsible for evaluating, patenting, marketing, licensing and commercializing innovations, and for collecting and distributing royalties. In the three years he has headed the program, Dr. Kaplan has introduced a new royalty policy and developed strategic plans for revenue generation for technology transfer across the VA enterprise.
Previously, Dr. Kaplan held various roles in the federal, private and military sectors such as an attorney-advisor at the International Trade Commission, law clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and Director of the Office of Management Operations at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Additionally, Dr. Kaplan worked as an attorney practicing patent litigation for Fish and Richardson PC and Finnegan Henderson. Dr. Kaplan is a retired military officer having served in a variety of leadership and command positions for the United States Air Force.
The FLC was organized to promote and strengthen technology transfer nationwide. John J. Kaplan, PhD, JD, PE, candidate for Member-at-Large, has a unique combination of knowledge, skills, abilities and expertise that can help the FLC to advance its mission and activities. At the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), where he serves as Director of the Technology Transfer Program (TTP), Dr. Kaplan has transformed the entire TTP by creating a VA Technology Transfer brand and tagline (BRAVE – Bringing Research Advancements for Veterans to Everyone) in order to establish brand recognition for technology transfer across the VA enterprise. These branding skills, which include his legal knowledge of trademark law, can be employed to advance the FLC brand and advance technology transfer across the Federal government and the nation. Dr. Kaplan’s belief that education is a critical need in the field of technology transfer, led to the creation of the first educational program, an online course, for the VA’s Technology Transfer Program. This online education course was lauded by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and thereafter made mandatory for VA researchers/engineers. Dr. Kaplan’s ability to think creatively and his knowledge of education can help the FLC to create innovative education programs to teach government employees about technology transfer and help to spread the word throughout the private sector about the opportunities to license federal government technologies. Dr. Kaplan is currently transferring the operations of the VA’s Technology Transfer Program by transitioning the VA’s TTP system to the cloud, enabling online collaboration with the VA’s internal and external partners and enhancing the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to make better decisions in uncovering, protecting, and capitalizing on VA technology developments. Dr. Kaplan’s information technology background and expertise would be of great service in helping to expand the FLC’s use of technology such as AI and NLP to better serve the FLC community.
Dr. Kaplan has great strengths and enthusiasm to bring to FLC regional and national activities and trainings. In particular, he would like to become involved in guiding the development of a new FLC Strategic Plan (current FLC Strategic Plan covers 2015 to 2019). His ideas for a new FLC Strategic Plan include expanding it to 5 years or longer and guiding its development by diversity and inclusion across the technology transfer enterprise to foster innovation and technology transfer by every employee. This could be accomplished by outlining the importance of engaging the diverse population of researchers, engineers, scientists and innovators across the government and implementing activities, training and guidance in order to capitalize on diversity. Lastly, he would propose that a new strategic plan foster political support in line with the President’s Management Agenda Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal #14 Lab-to-Market in order to support changes in technology transfer legislation such as increasing the inventor royalty cap from $150,000 to $500,000 per year.
Dr. Kaplan is an ideal candidate for FLC Executive Board Member-at-Large. He is engaged in technology transfer, committed to supporting the FLC, and willing and able to serve and bring fresh ideas and energy to the activities of the national board.