A. Christal Sheppard

Christal Sheppard

A. Christal Sheppard Lecturer

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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's 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. 


International Intellectual Property Law and Rememdies Law 622 (3 cr hr)
Overview of the United States laws of copyright, patent, trade secret and trademark for students of all background levels and discussions on mechanisms to protect intellectual property rights abroad. Analysis of all major international treaties and conventions. This course will cover not only the legal and regulatory schemes but also the policy implications. No prior course in Intellectual Property or background is requisite.

Legislation and Regulation
The class will explore the process and institutions involved in developing law and regulation and how to affect that process as an individual citizen or as company counsel. This class will discuss legislative drafting, the legislative process to become law, the regulatory process, statutory interpretation by the courts and standards of deference.

Patent Law Law 697 (3 cr hr)
This course will provide an introduction to the basic principles of the law of patents in the United States including the history, utility and function of the patent system; statutory and procedural requirements for patentability; recent case law; and patent enforcement mechanisms, remedies and defenses. The intent is for this class to provide a foundation in patent law for general legal practice that crosscuts all potential business client interests from individual inventors to small and large companies. A scientific background is not necessary.

Science and the Law Law 660 (3 cr hr)
Analysis of the role of science in the law. This class will explore issues such as biotechnology, scientific evidence, regulatory approval, antitrust, and environmental law to explore the intersection of science, scientific evidence, and the effect on the law and legal decision making.


The structure and properties of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase from Escherichia coli suggest how folate ameliorates human hyperhomocysteinemia,  Nature Structural Biology 6(4), 359-65 (1999) with Guenther B.G., Tran, P., Rozen, R., Matthews, R.G., Ludwig M.L.

Purification and properties of NADH-dependent 5, 10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MetF) from Escherichia coli.,  Journal of Bacteriology 181(3):718-25 (1999) with Matthews, R.G.

Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase and methionine synthase: biochemistry and molecular biology,  Eur. J. Pediatr, 157: Suppl. 2:S54-S59 (1998) with Matthews, R.G.

Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase: comparison of the enzyme from mammalian and bacterial sources in homocysteine metabolism: from basic science to clinical medicine,  eds. Graham, I., Refsum, H., Rosenberg, I.H., Ueland, P.M. 31-35, Kluwer, Boston, (1997) with Sumner, J.S., Goyette, P., Frosst, P., Rozen, R., Matthews, R. G.

Identification of a candidate genetic risk factor for cardiovascular disease: a common mutation at the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase locus,  Nature Genetics., 10 , 111-113 (1995) with Frosst, P., Blom, H., Milos, R., Goyette, P., Matthews, R.G., Boers, G.J.H., den Heijer, M., Kluijtmans L.A.J., van den Heuvel L.P., & Rozen, R.


Tuesday, May 2, 2023



M.S., Ph.D., Cellular and Molecular Biology, 1998, University of Michigan
Senior Managers in Government Program, 2005, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
J.D., 2001 Cornell University

Areas of Expertise


Assistant Professor of Law, 2011