Press Release: Ruth Okediji, leading IP scholar, joins Global Access in Action as Co-Director

Ruth Okediji, a leading scholar in international intellectual property law and global economic regulation, joined Global Access in Action as Co-Director.

One of the foremost authorities on international intellectual property law in developing countries, Okediji holds an endowed chair at the Law School and also serves on the board of directors of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. She previously held the William L. Prosser Professorship and a McKnight Presidential Professorship at the University of Minnesota Law School, where she from 2003 to 2016. In 2015–2016, she was the Hieken Visiting Professor in Patent Law at Harvard Law School.

Ruth Okediji is one of the world’s most influential scholars in intellectual property law and innovation.  We are eager to have her input and expertise as we partner with developing countries to address the misalignments between their public health objectives and their intellectual property, trade, and innovation policies,” said Professor William Fisher, one of GAiA’s co-directors and a colleague at Harvard Law School.

Said Okediji: “I am delighted to join GAiA. I look forward to working with my co-directors and GAiA’s staff on the many complex issues at the intersection of law and public health both nationally and globally.”

Professor Okediji’s scholarship focuses on the international regulatory environment for knowledge goods, innovation policy and global knowledge governance. She has authored an extensive array of articles, commissioned papers and book chapters on the international patent system, international copyright law, technology transfer and economic development. Professor Okediji has served as a policy advisor to many inter-governmental organizations, regional economic communities and national governments on the formulation of copyright and patent policies, and on institutional design choices related to IP administration. Her work has served to guide and influence government policies in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America on national strategies for the implementation of the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement).

From 2011 to 2012, Professor Okediji was a member of the National Academies’ Board on Science, Technology and Policy Committee on the Impact of Copyright Policy on Innovation in the Digital Era. In 2013, she served as the Chief Technical Expert and Lead Negotiator for the Delegation of Nigeria to the WIPO Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities (Marrakesh VIP Treaty). In this capacity, she also provided technical assistance to the 54 member states of the Africa Group. Professor Okediji works closely with several United Nations agencies, regional inter-governmental organizations and national governments on various aspects of innovation and IP policy, including access to knowledge, access to essential medicines and issues related to indigenous innovation systems.

Over the course of her career, Professor Okediji has received numerous teaching and service awards. In 2013, she received the Stanley V. Kinyon Tenured Professor Award for the best tenured professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. Professor Okediji has previously received awards from other law schools, including the Professor Most Likely To Go Beyond the Call of Duty, the Regents Superior Teaching Award and the Student Bar Association’s Outstanding Professor Award. She has taught at Emory Law School, Duke University School of Law, the University of Haifa Law School (Israel), and University of Tilburg Law School (The Netherlands) and as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto. The Curatorium of the Hague Academy of International Law recently selected Professor Okediji to teach at its 2018 session in Paris, France.

Professor Okediji is a graduate of the University of Jos and Harvard Law School.

About Global Access in Action:

Global Access in Action, a project of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, seeks to expand access to lifesaving medicines and combat the communicable disease burden that disproportionately harms the world’s most vulnerable populations. We accomplish this by conducting action-oriented research, supporting breakthrough initiatives, facilitating stakeholder dialogue, and providing policy advice to pharmaceutical firms on best practices to increase impact.  GAIA uses its pragmatic and neutral viewpoint to enable dialogue across traditional boundaries between government, industry, nonprofits, and academia, and to promote new, innovative solutions amongst these parties to create better outcomes.

Press Release: Ruth Okediji, leading IP scholar, joins Global Access in Action as Co-Director