avatar for Ruth Okediji

Ruth Okediji

Harvard Law School
Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law

Ruth L. Okediji is a renowned scholar in international intellectual property (IP) law and a foremost authority on the role of intellectual property in social and economic development. She holds the William L. Prosser Professorship at the University of Minnesota Law School where she teaches contracts, international intellectual property, copyright, trademarks and IP and development.

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 Carribbean 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 regularly serves on doctoral committees at the University of British Columbia, Duke University Law School, the University of Toronto and the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. 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.