Faculty Directory
Faculty Directory

Ruth Okediji

  • William L. Prosser Professor of Law

University of Jos, LL.B.
Harvard Law School, LL.M., S.J.D.

Office: 438
Mondale Hall, 229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Professor Ruth L. Okediji the Law School’s William L. Prosser Professor of Law since 2003, teaches contracts, international intellectual property (IP), copyright, trademarks, and IP and development. She is recognized worldwide as one of the foremost experts on international IP law and international economic regulation. Before joining the Law School in 2003, she was the Edith Gaylord Presidential Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, and she served on the Oklahoma Public Employee Relations Board at the appointment of Gov. Frank Keating. She has been a visiting professor at Duke University School of Law, the University of Haifa Law School, the University of St. Thomas School of Law, and the University of Tilburg Law School and has held visiting research positions at Harvard Law School and the Max Planck Institute for International and Comparative Patent, Copyright, Trademark and Unfair Competition Law in Munich, Germany.

Her scholarship focuses on issues of innovation policy, economic development, and global knowledge governance in the context of international institutions and public international law. She is co-author of a leading copyright casebook, Copyright in a Global Information Economy (Aspen, 3rd ed., 2011), and co-author of a seminal casebook, International Patent Law and Policy (Aspen, 2013). Two additional books, Global Perspectives on Patent Law (with Margo Bagley) and Exceptions and Limitations in International Copyright Law, are forthcoming (Oxford, 2013). She has also authored an extensive array of articles, commissioned papers, and book chapters, and has been a reviewer and editor of the Journal of World Intellectual Property since 2009.

Professor Okediji has been acknowledged nationally and internationally for her research and professional service and is regularly cited for her work on IP-related issues in developing and least-developed countries. She has served as a policy advisor on the impact of IP protection on development goals for many governments and inter-governmental organizations. She also has been a consultant for the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development, the U.N. Development Program, and the World Intellectual Property Organization and has directed research and technical assistance projects in Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Caribbean.

Since joining the Law School, Professor Okediji has held the inaugural Solly Robins Distinguished Research Fellowship and a McKnight Fellowship. She has served on the doctoral committees at the University of British Columbia, Duke University Law School, the University of Toronto, and the Graduate Institute in Geneva, and is a member of the Executive Board of the National Order of the Coif. In addition, she has chaired the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Committee on Law and Computers, its Committee on Intellectual Property, and its Nominating Committee for Officers and Members of the Executive Committee. In 2011-2012, she 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.

Over the course of her career, Professor Okediji has received numerous teaching, service, and professionalism honors, including the Regents’ Superior Teaching Award, the Student Bar Association’s Outstanding Professor Award, and the Professor Most Likely to Go Beyond the Call of Duty recognition. She was elected to the prestigious American Law Institute in 2008.

A graduate of the University of Jos (LL.B.) and Harvard Law School (LL.M., S.J.D.), Professor Okediji is licensed to practice law in New York and Minnesota.



International Intellectual Property


Advanced Intellectual Property: Special Projects



  • Copyright in a Global Information Economy (Aspen Law & Business, 1st ed., 2002; 2d ed., 2006; Aspen Publishers, 3d ed., 2010; 4th ed., 2015) Julie Cohen, Lydia Loren and Maureen O'Rourke
  • Intellectual Property Rights: Legal and Economic Challenges for Development (Oxford University Press, 2014) (co-editor) Mario Cimoli, Giovanni Dosi, Keith E. Maskus, Jerome H. Reichman and Joseph E. Stiglitz
  • Patent Law in Global Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2014) (co-editor) Margo A. Bagley
  • International Patent Law and Policy (West, 2013) Margo A. Bagley and Jay A. Erstling

Book Chapters

  • Does Africa Need Competition Law?, in Global Competition Law and Economics (Daniel Sokol, ed., Stanford University Press, forthcoming)
  • Empowering Digitally Integrated Scientific Research: The Pivotal Role of Copyright’s Limitations and Exceptions, in The Economics of Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation, Knowledge, and Technology Transfer (Joseph E. Stiglitz, ed., forthcoming) Jerome H. Reichman
  • Law and Technology in a Neo-Liberal Age, in 13 International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences 520-527 (James D. Wright ed., Elsevier, 2d ed., 2015)
  • Legal and Economic Perspectives on International Technology Transfer in Environmentally Sound Technologies, in Intellectual Property Rights: Legal and Economic Challenges for Development (Mario Cimoli, Giovanni Dosi, Keith E. Maskus, Ruth L. Okediji, Jerome H. Reichman & Joseph E. Stiglitz, eds., Oxford University Press, 2014) Keith E. Maskus
  • Public Welfare and the International Patent System, in Patent Law in Global Perspective (Ruth L. Okediji & Margo A. Bagley, eds., Oxford University Press, 2014)
  • The Role of Intellectual Property Rights in Developing Countries: Some Conclusions, in Intellectual Property Rights: Legal and Economic Challenges for Development (Mario Cimoli, Giovanni Dosi, Keith E. Maskus, Ruth L. Okediji, Jerome H. Reichman & Joseph E. Stiglitz, eds., Oxford University Press, 2014) Mario Cimoli, Giovanni Dosi, Keith E. Maskus, Jerome H. Reichman and Joseph E. Stiglitz
  • The Role of WIPO in Access to Medicines, in Balancing Wealth and Health: The Battle over Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines in Latin America (Rochelle C. Dreyfuss & Cesar Rodriguez-Garavito, eds., Oxford University Press, 2014)
  • Copyright in TRIPS and Beyond: The WIPO Internet Treaties, in Research Handbook on the Protection of Intellectual Property under WTO Rules: Intellectual Property in the WTO (Carlos M. Correa, ed., Edward Elgar, 2010)
  • Contours of an International Instrument on Limitations and Exceptions, in The Development Agenda: Global Intellectual Property and Developing Countries (Neil Weinstock Netanel, ed., Oxford University Press, 2009) P. Bernt Hugenholtz
  • History Lessons for the WIPO Development Agenda, in The Development Agenda: Global Intellectual Property and Developing Countries (Neil Weinstock Netanel, ed., Oxford University Press, 2009)
  • An Enduring Legacy for the Knowledge Economy: UNESCO and the International Copyright System, in Standard-Setting in UNESCO: Normative Action in Education, Science and Culture (Abdulqawi A. Yusuf, ed., Martinus Nijhoff, 2007)
  • Securing Intellectual Property Objectives: New Approaches to Human Rights Considerations, in Casting the Net Wider: Human Rights, Development and New Duty-Bearers (Margot E. Salomon, Arne Tostensen & Wouter Vandenhole, eds., Intersentia, 2007), reprinted in part in Laurence R. Helfer & Graeme W. Austin, Human Rights and Intellectual Property: Mapping the Global Interface (Cambridge University Press, 2011)
  • The Limits of Development Strategies at the Intersection of Intellectual Property and Human Rights, in Intellectual Property, Trade & Development: Strategies to Optimize Economic Development in a TRIPS-Plus Era (Daniel J. Gervais, ed., Oxford University Press, 2007)
  • Multiple chapters on Copyright (Copyright Works; Copyright: Computer Programs; Copyright: Databases; Copyright: The Rental Right; Copyright: Term of Protection; Copyright: Limitations and Exceptions; and Copyright: Related Rights), in United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development/UNCTAD-ICSTD, Resource Book on TRIPS and Development (Cambridge University Press, 2005) (contributor)
  • Rules of Power in an Age of Law: Process Opportunism and TRIPs Dispute Settlement, in Handbook of International Trade, Vol. 2, Economic and Legal Analyses of Trade Policy and Institutions (Eun Kwan Choi & James Hartigan, eds., Blackwell, 2005)
  • Sustainable Access to Digital Informational Works, in International Public Goods and Transfer of Technology under a Globalized Intellectual Property Regime (Keith E. Maskus & Jerome H. Reichman, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2005)

Journal Articles

  • Is Intellectual Property “Investment”? Eli Lilly v. Canada and the International Intellectual Property System, 35 University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law 1121 (2014)
  • Legal Innovation in International Intellectual Property Relations: Revisiting Twenty-One Years of the TRIPS Agreement, 36 University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law 101 (2014)
    | SSRN
  • When Copyright Law and Science Collide: Empowering Digitally Integrated Research Methods on a Global Scale, 96 Minnesota Law Review 1362 (2012) Jerome H. Reichman
    | SSRN
  • Overcoming the Impasse on Intellectual Property and Climate Change at the UNFCCC: A Way Forward (International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, Policy Brief No. 11, 2011) Ahmed Abdel-Latif, Keith E. Maskus, Jerome H. Reichman and Pedro Roffe
    | SSRN
  • Innovation and Technology Transfer: Prospects under the EU-ACP EPAs, 9:3 Trade Negotiations Insights (Apr. 2010)
  • The Regulation of Creativity under the WIPO Internet Treaties, 77 Fordham Law Review 2379 (2009)
    | SSRN
  • IP Essentialism and the Authority of the Firm, 117 Yale Law Journal Pocket Part 274 (2008)
  • WIPO-WTO Relations and the Future of Global Intellectual Property Norms, 39 Netherlands Yearbook of International Law 69 (2008)
  • The International Intellectual Property Roots of Geographical Indications, 82 Chicago-Kent Law Review 1329 (2007)
  • Africa and the Global Intellectual Property System: Beyond the Agency Model, 12 African Yearbook of International Law 207 (2004)
  • Back to Bilateralism? Pendulum Swings in International Intellectual Property Agreements, 1 University of Ottawa Law & Technology Journal 125 (2004)
    | SSRN
  • The Institutions of Intellectual Property: New Trends in an Old Debate, 98 Proceedings of the American Society of International Law 219 (2004)
  • Through the Years: The Supreme Court and the Copyright Clause, 30 William Mitchell Law Review 1633 (2004)
  • Balancing Acts: Antitrust for Economic Development, 48 Antitrust Bulletin 921 (2003)
  • Public Welfare and the Role of the WTO: Reconsidering the TRIPs Agreement, 17 Emory International Law Review 819 (2003)
  • The International Relations of Intellectual Property: Narratives of Developing Country Participation in the Global Intellectual Property System, 7 Singapore Journal of International & Comparative Law 315 (2003)
  • Trading Posts in Cyberspace: Information Markets and the Construction of Proprietary Rights, 44 Boston College Law Review 545 (2003)
  • Givers, Takers, and Other Kinds of Users: A Fair Use Doctrine for Cyberspace, 53 Florida Law Review 107 (2001)
  • TRIPs Dispute Settlement and the Sources of (International) Copyright Law, 49 Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. 585 (2001)
  • Toward an International Fair Use Standard, 39 Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 75 (2000)
  • Copyright and Public Welfare in Global Perspective, 7 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 117 (1999)
  • Status Rules: Doctrine as Discrimination in a Post-Hicks Environment, 26 Florida State University Law Review 49 (1998)
  • Prospects for Developing Countries Under the TRIPs Agreement, 29 Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 735 (1996)
  • The Myth of Development, the Progress of Rights: Human Rights to Intellectual Property and Development, 18 Law & Policy 315 (1996)
  • Two Steps Forward: Reconciling Nigeria’s Accession to The Berne Convention and the TRIPs Agreement, 27 International Review of Industrial Property and Copyright Law 476 (1996)
  • Has Creativity Died in the Third World? Some Implications of the Internationalization of Intellectual Property, 24 Denver Journal of International Law and Policy 109 (1995)
  • Which “Self”? Race and Gender in the Right to Self-Determination as a Prerequisite to the Right to Development, 14 Wisconsin International Law Journal 133 (1995)
  • U.S. Science Policy and the International Transfer of Technology, 3 Journal of Transnational Law & Policy 205 (1994)
  • Profiteering from Life and Death: Intellectual Property and the Pharmaceutical Industry in Emerging Economies: A Nigerian Case Study, 2:1 Intellectual Property Law: An International Analytical Journal 7 (1993)
  • International Institutions, 1 The Globalist (Oklahoma Bar Association, Section on International Law) (1992)
  • International Trade, 1 The Globalist (Oklahoma Bar Association, Section on International Law) (1991)

Documents and Reports

  • The Future of Copyright in International Development (International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, 2011-2012) (commissioned monograph)
  • Intellectual Property Rights and International Technology Transfer to Address Climate Change: Risks, Opportunities and Policy Options (ICTSD’s Programme on IPRs and Sustainable Development, Issue Paper No. 32, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, Dec. 2010) (commissioned monograph) Keith E. Maskus
  • Conceiving an International Instrument on Limitations and Exceptions to Copyright (Open Society Institute, 2008) (commissioned monograph) P. Bernt Hugenholtz
  • The International Copyright System: Limitations, Exceptions and Public Interest Considerations for Developing Countries (UNCTAD-ICTSD Project on IPRs and Sustainable Development, 2006) (commissioned monograph)
  • Development in the Information Age: Issues in the Regulation of Intellectual Property Rights, Computer Software and Electronic Commerce, (UNCTAD-ICTSD Project on IPRs and Sustainable Development, 2004) (commissioned monograph)

Book Reviews

  • Book Note, 6 Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 429 (1993) (reviewing Technology Transfer in International Business (Tamir Agmon & Mary Ann Young Von Glinow, eds., Oxford University Press, 1991))

Editorials, Commentary & Letters

  • Intellectual Property Rights and the Public Good: Universities Have Obligations to Developing Countries, The Scientist, July 19, 2004, at 8 (opinion) Ronald Phillips, Jim Chen and Dan Burk

Contact Information

University of Minnesota Law School

Walter F. Mondale Hall | 229 19th Avenue South | Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-625-1000

Email Us

Connect on Social Media