Ruth L. Okediji is the Jeremiah Smith. Jr, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Co-Director of the Berkman Klein Center. A renowned scholar in international intellectual property (IP) law and a foremost authority on the role of intellectual property in social and economic development, Professor Okediji has advised inter-governmental organizations, regional economic communities, and national governments on a range of matters related to technology, innovation policy, and development. Her widely cited scholarship on IP and development has influenced government policies in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and South America. Her ideas have helped shape national strategies for the implementation of the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement). She works closely with several United Nations agencies, research centers, and international organizations on the human development effects of international IP policy, including access to knowledge, access to essential medicines and issues related to indigenous innovation systems.
Professor Okediji was a member of the United States National Academies’ Board on Science, Technology and Policy Committee on the Impact of Copyright Policy on Innovation in the Digital Era. She served as the Chief Technical Expert and Lead Negotiator for the Delegation of Nigeria to the 2013 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). Okediji was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the 2015 – 2016 High Level Panel on Access to Medicines.
Professor Okediji is a recipient of numerous awards for excellence in teaching, research and mentoring. She is an editor of the Journal of World Intellectual Property Law and an elected member of the American Law Institute. Her most recent book, Copyright Law in an Age of Limitations and Exceptions, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017.
Professor Okediji is a graduate of the University of Jos and Harvard Law School.
- LL.B. University of Jos, 1989
- LL.M. Harvard Law School, 1991
- S.J.D. Harvard Law School, 1996
- Ruth Okediji and Justin Hughes, A Scholarly Look at International IP -- Idealistic and Pragmatic, in Improving Intellectual Property ( Susy Frankel , Margaret Chon, Graeme Dinwoodie, Barbara Lauriat, and Jens Schovsbo eds., 2023).
- Ruth L. Okediji, Is the Public Domain Just?: Biblical Stewardship and Legal Protection for Traditional Knowledge Assets, 45 Colum. J.L. & Arts 461 (2022).
- Ruth L. Okediji, Grafting Traditional Knowledge onto a Common Law System, 110 Geo. L.J. 75 (2021).
- Ruth Okediji, With a Covid-19 Vaccine Patent Waiver Likely, Time to Rethink Global Intellectual Property Rules, CNN (Apr. 12, 2021).
- Ruth L. Okediji, Culture and the Globalization of Knowledge Production: A Tribute to William P. Alford, 62 Harv. Int'l L.J. 23 (2021).