College of Law



Our faculty are engaged in a range of research and scholarly activities seeking to advance our understanding of intellectual property law, how it affects innovation and markets, and how intellectual property practices can be improved.  Below are some of the areas in which we are actively conducting research.




Genomics and Patents

Professor Contreras has written extensively about the intersection of genetics and intellectual property protection – particularly patents and data protections.  His forthcoming book The Genome Defense: Inside the Epic Legal Battle to Determine Who Owns Your DNA (New York: Algonquin, 2021) recounts the untold story of AMP v. Myriad, the ACLU’s unlikely lawsuit that ended gene patenting in America.  Aimed at a general readership, the book has already received significant advance notice.  Professor Contreras has also written recently about the patentability of chimeric antigen receptor T-cells (CAR-T) and other gene therapies under U.S. and European exclusions for medical treatments, and the patent licensing landscape for CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technologies (with Jacob Sherkow of University of Illinois).

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Patent Pledges – Open COVID and Low Carbon

Professor Contreras was a pioneer in systematically identifying, cataloging and studying the legal mechanisms by which patent holders voluntarily waive certain rights to enforce their patents for a range of commercial and altruistic reasons [a, b]. His definitive edited collection on this topic (with Meredith Jacob, American University) was named by IPKat as the Best Patent Law Book of 2018.

In 2020, building on his past theoretical work, Professor Contreras (with Mark Lemley of Stanford Law School and others) worked to create the Open COVID Pledge [d, e], a voluntary framework for the commitment of intellectual property rights to the Covid-19 response.  To date, more than thirty corporations including Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Facebook, Amazon and Uber, together with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory, have pledged an estimated 500,000 patents to this cause on a royalty-free basis.  Building on his work with the Open COVID Pledge, he has begun to explore ways that such legal structures can effectively be used to disseminate technologies useful to address climate change.  The beginnings of such a project have emerged with an effort called the Low Carbon Patent Pledge -- in which companies have already pledged several hundred patents to combat global climate change.  Yet challenges remain to be addressed, and care must be taken to avoid the pitfalls of earlier efforts such as the EcoPatent Commons.  Ongoing work on this project is being conducted with the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at American University, and includes collaboration with the University of Utah’s Stegner Center.

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Standardization Policy and Standards Essential Patents

Professor Contreras is among the most prolific writers in the field of standardization policy and standards-essential patents.  He edited the two-volume Cambridge Handbook of Technical Standardization Law (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2017, 2019), which is a definitive reference work in the field and is the founding editor of the SSRN journal Law, Policy and Economics of Technical Standardization. His work in this area has been cited by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the European Commission and courts in the U.S. and Europe, including the decision of the UK High Court (Patents) in Unwired Planet v. Huawei (2017).  From 2017-19, he, together with collaborators Justus Baron, Pierre Larouche and Martin Husovec, was commissioned by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) to conduct a comprehensive study of governance mechanisms within standards development organizations. Contreras is best known for a range of proposals intended to improve the efficiency, transparency, and fairness of the technical standardization process, particularly as it is affected by patents.  These include the collective negotiation of patent royalty rates by participants in the standardization process [1, 2], the use of the procedural interpleader mechanism to determine aggregate and individual royalty rates [3], and the establishment of a non-governmental global rate-setting tribunal for the establishment of patent royalty rates [4].  In addition, he has recently explored the increasing use of anti-suit injunctions in international standards-essential patent cases, particularly the jurisdictional competition among the United States, China and Europe.

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Patent Remedies

Professor Contreras is an international authority on patent remedies law and has recently helped to coordinate a multilateral collaboration of academics from twenty countries on a project to develop a consensus commentary on remedies law in North America, Europe and Asia.  The resulting book, Patent Remedies and Complex Products Toward a Global Consensus (C. Bradford Biddle, Jorge L. Contreras, Brian J. Love, and Norman V. Siebrasse, eds., Cambridge University Press: 2019) was recognized by IPKat as the Best Patent Law Book of the Year. Professor Contreras is currently in the midst of several ongoing projects involving the study of remedies in patent law.  These include empirical studies of the “irreparable harm” test for preliminary injunctive relief (with John Jarosz of Analysis Group, Inc.) and the legal nature of unenjoined infringement, specifically whether it is accurately classified as compulsory licensing (with student Jessi Maupin). Both of these are anticipated to result in law review articles.  He is also involved in two projects assessing international patent remedies: the editing of a comparative multi-author book on international approaches to tailoring injunctive relief in patent cases (with Martin Husovec of the London School of Economics) (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press) and a study of international anti-suit injunctions (ASIs) issued in cases involving standards-essential patents, and particularly their recent emergence in China (with Peter Yu of Texas A&M and Yu Yang of Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, a former visiting scholar at the COL).  In addition to the foregoing, he has been working on a proposed framework to limit national court adjudication of global patent licensing rate disputes so as to avoid the global “race to the bottom” that has emerged in this area.

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Injunctions In Patent Law: Trans-Atlantic Dialogues On Flexibility And Tailoring (Jorge L. Contreras & Martin Husovec, eds., Cambridge University Press: 2022)

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Professor Contreras was among the first scholars to conceptualize the vast collection of publicly-available genomic data that emerged after the Human Genome Project within the theoretical framework of the knowledge commons [5, 6, 7, 8, 9], a construct first developed by Elinor Ostrom and Charlotte Hess [10] and later expanded by Brett Frischmann, Michael Madison and Kathleen Strandburg [11].


Academic Technology Transfer

  • Jorge L. Contreras, In the Public Interest” – University Technology Transfer and the Nine Points Document – An Empirical Assessment, 13 U. Irvine L. Rev. (2023)
  • Steven Joffe, Rena Conti, Jorge Contreras, Emily Largent, Holly Lynch, David Mitchell, Rachel Sachs, Allison Whelan, Matthew McCoy, Access to Affordable Medicines: Obligations of Universities and Academic Medical Centers, 30(6) Gene Therapy (2023)
  • Jeff Carter-Johnson, Jennifer Carter-Johnson & Jorge L. Contreras, University Research and Licensing in Bioinformatics, Medical Informatics and the Law 133 (Jorge L. Contreras, A. James Cuticchia & Gregory Kirsch, eds., Edward Elgar: 2022)
  • Jorge L. Contreras & Marc D. Rinehart, Conflicts of Interest and Academic Research in Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer 7, 143-65 (Jacob Rooksby, ed., Edward Elgar: 2020)
Art, Entertainment and Literary Law

Climate Change, Green and Clean Technology

Copyright Law

Crime Victim's Rights

Criminal Punishment

Matthew Tokson, Supreme Court Clerks and the Death Penalty, 88 George Washington L. Rev. Arguendo 48 (2020) (symposium essay)


Data Ownership and Property

Death Penalty

Enablers / Bystanders


Genomics, Genetics and Intellectual Property

[see also Scientific Data Sharing and Commons]

Homeland Security

Innocence and Wrongful Conviction

International Intellectual Property

Legal Theory / Judicial Decisionmaking

Miranda and Police Interrogation

Neuroscience and Criminal Law

Patent Law, Other

Patent Pledges


Privacy & Fourth Amendment




Scientific Data Sharing and Commons

Standards-Essential Patents, Antitrust and FRAND Licensing


Trademark Law


Violent Crime

Student Publications and Presentations
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Image Credits © :Patent model for copper plate press -National Museum of American History- CC0