Steven Wood graduated with honors for his thesis in pursuit of an Advanced Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Air and Space Law from Leiden University in The Netherlands. Steven also graduated with certifications in Technology Commercialization Law and International Business Law from Syracuse University College of Law, in Syracuse, NY. While in law school, Steven pursued a concurrent Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Sciences, without the benefit of an EE bachelor’s degree. Prior to law school, Steven graduated with honors from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY with a Bachelor of Arts in Geology.

Prior to law school, Steven volunteered for two tours of national service with AmeriCorps, first as a National Park Service (NPS) middle school environmental educator in the Marin Headlands and then as an NPS geographic information systems specialist for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. He also worked a stint as a junior carpenter.

Prior to joining Vela Wood, Steven worked as a Patent Examiner at the United States Patent & Trademark Office, as a Licensing Associate at the Brookhaven National Laboratory Office of Technology Commercialization, as an Assistant Business Development Officer at Leiden University Research and Innovation Services, and he has held several positions with startup companies, including Co-Founder of a Dutch internet of things startup, trakkies. International BV, incubated at the European Space Agency Business Incubation Center in Noordwijk, The Netherlands.

Steven is also currently employed as Associate Director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at The Research Foundation for The State University of New York, where he built an in-house patent practice group and manages intellectual property protection and technology commercialization.  He is further currently employed as Senior Director of Technology Applications Development for the Air Force Research Labs funded NeuroPipes research group under Dr. Nathaniel Cady at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Steven also holds a position as Adjunct Professor of Law at Albany Law School, the nation’s oldest independent school of law, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Association of Commercial Space Professionals.

Steven frequently speaks and publishes on the intersection of space law and patent law, and the unintuitive implications for patent portfolios weakened by the U.S. Temporary Presence Defense to patent infringement.

At Vela Wood, Steven advises clients on outer space law, patents, and intellectual property, including strategies for IP protection and valuation, entrepreneurship, startups, government grants, and contracts, including Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR), and Other Transaction Authority (OTA) awards, tech transfer, technology commercialization, licensing, and other technology-centered transactions.

Steven grew up in a small town in the Leatherstocking region of Central New York.  He currently lives close by to his childhood stomping grounds, with nearly a half-mile on a beautiful creek in the Southwest Adirondacks.  When he’s not working his plethora of side hustles, Steven enjoys spending time exploring and maintaining his property and especially sunning on the glacial boulders strewn throughout the creek.


  • 2021 Hyperspace Summit Pitch Competition: Steven was selected as the Second Place finalist based on his pitch for the Air Force Research Labs and SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s ReRAM Neuromorphic Computing technology for Automated On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing.
  • 2019 Spot Award: Steven was named a 2019 Spot Award recipient by General Counsel for The Research Foundation for The State University of New York for “special efforts” to support negotiations of a multi-tiered $880M contract to create the SUNY Applied Materials Research Institute.
  • 2012 Leiden University Excellence Scholarships (LExS) Programme Gold Scholarship: Steven Was selected a 2012-2013 recipient of a Gold LExS scholarship.
  • 2012 Spotlight Award: Steven was named a 2012 Spotlight Award recipient by Brookhaven National Laboratory for “extraordinary efforts in response to the needs of his department.”
  • 2011 R&D 100 Award: Steven authored a winning application to the 2011 R&D 100 Awards for the MAIA X-ray Microprobe Detector


  • Outer space law
    • space object registration
    • use of temporary presence defense to circumvent U.S. patents
    • prevention of threats to U.S. patents posed by the temporary presence defense
  • Patent and intellectual property portfolios
    • compliance with Bayh-Dole, for federally funded inventions
    • patentability searches
    • strategies for protection
    • freedom to operate and threat analysis
    • chain of title and due diligence
    • valuation estimations
  • Technology transactions
    • license agreements
    • option agreements
    • trade secret and confidentiality agreements
    • material transfer agreements
  • Government Grants and Contracts
    • compliance with Bayh-Dole for federally funded inventions
    • SBIRs/STTRs/OTAs
    • FARS and DFARS
    • export control



Conference Panels & Activities

Fun Facts:

  • He coached the Second Place, runners-up, world finalists team from Leiden University in the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court, before judges of the International Court of Justice in Beijing, China.
  • For his undergraduate semester overseas, he studied at the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies at the University of Tasmania, Australia, and for his undergraduate thesis research he was selected to participate in a National Science Foundation research expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula, where he took several polar plunges under a full moon, ice shelf calving icebergs in the distance, assisted by multiple tequila shots and interspersed hot tub soak sessions.
  • He played on the first women’s soccer team and co-founded the first men’s soccer team at this high school.


  • Leiden University, International Institute of Air and Space Law, LL.M., thesis honors
  • Syracuse University College of Law, J.D.
  • Syracuse University L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Sciences, M.S. Electrical Engineering
  • Hamilton College, B.A. in Geology, honors