Patent Law

A. Christal Sheppard Adjunct Law Professor

Dr. Christal Sheppard was the first Director of the first United States Patent and Trademark Office located outside of the nation’s capital in 227 years. Prior to joining the Agency, she was assistant professor of law at the University of Nebraska where she co-founded a program of Concentrated Study in Intellectual Property law. In 2018, she joined IPwe, a patent based, startup company headquartered in Paris, France, as Executive Vice President for Strategy and Business Development. IPwe applies blockchain and artificial intelligence to the patent ecosystem to create a global marketplace for patent assessment, due diligence, licensing, sale and portfolio management. 

Dr. Sheppard educational background includes an M.S. and Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan, a J.D. from Cornell University Law School, completion of Harvard’s Executive Education – Senior Managers in Government, the Federal Executive Institute’s - Leadership for a Democratic Society and George Mason University Law and Economic Center’s Economic Institute for Law Professors programs. She is currently enrolled in the University of Michigan Ross School of Business Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) Program. 

She has over two decades of Science and Intellectual Property Law and Policy work experience including as practicing attorney at Foley & Lardner, the United States International Trade Commission, the United States Patent and Trademark Office and internships with Judge Rader at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the Executive Office of the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy. 

Her successful career in intellectual property law and policy also includes her tenure as Chief Counsel on Patents and Trademarks for the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary where she was integral in many endeavors including the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, the most comprehensive change to this nation's intellectual property laws in over 60 years. 

Dr. Sheppard’s commitment to education is so strong that she continues to teach two courses a year, Patent Law and International Intellectual Property, at the University of Nebraska law college, in her free time. 

Dr. Sheppard has testified before the United States Congress and been quoted by the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones News Wire, Fox Business News, the Chicago Sun Times, Politico and others on a variety of intellectual property and business issues. She regularly presents on intellectual property matters, from basics to advanced, to solo inventors, incubators, small and large companies, students, professors, attorneys, regulators, judges, administrators, regulators and others throughout the innovation ecosystem. 

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