Elected Member

Professor Madhavi Sunder

Washington, DC
Georgetown University Law Center
Harvard University
Stanford Law School

Madhavi Sunder, Frank Sherry Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Georgetown University Law Center, is a widely published and influential scholar of intellectual property law, law and technology, women’s human rights, and international development. Her scholarship is interdisciplinary, straddling private and public law, and engages the global dimensions of law, from patents and access to medicines, including Covid 19 vaccines, to trademarks and university brands. Her book, From Goods to a Good Life: Intellectual Property and Global Justice (Yale University Press 2012) brings a humanist approach to intellectual property law. The author of over 40 articles and book chapters, she has published in the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, the University of Michigan Law Reviewthe California Law Review, the Texas Law Review, and many other leading law reviews. Her work has been featured in The New York TimesThe Washington PostL.A TimesPBS NewshourThe Harvard Business Review and The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Before joining the Georgetown Law faculty, she was a professor at the University of California, Davis, School of Law from 1999 to 2018, where she was the Daniel J. Dykstra Professor of Law and served as the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2015-2018. She has been a Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School, the University of Chicago Law School, and Cornell Law School. She was the Thelton E. Henderson Visiting Scholar-in-Residence at UC Berkeley School of Law. Madhavi was named a Hagler Institute Fellow in 2022 and a Carnegie Scholar in 2006. In 2010 she was named one of the “Nation’s Top 12 Emerging Scholars Under 40” by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education Magazine.

Her wide-ranging scholarship ranges from art law to brands, cultural appropriation, design thinking, the experience economy, and the intersection of religion and women’s rights. She is the editor of Intellectual Property, COVID-19, and the Next Pandemic: Diagnosing Problems, Developing Cures (with Haochen Sun) (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2023); Academic Brands: Projecting Distinctiveness in Global Higher Education (with Mario Biagioli) (Cambridge University Press 2022); The Luxury Economy and Intellectual Property: Critical Reflections (with Haochen Sun & Barton Beebe) (Oxford University Press 2015); and Gender and Feminist Theory in Law & Society (Ashgate Publishing 2007). She is the co-author with Anupam Chander of the comic book, Fred Korematsu: All-American Hero (2011).

As Associate Dean for Graduate and International Programs at Georgetown Law, she oversaw the largest graduate law program in the country, with over 760 students and 15 degree programs, as well as the Center for Transnational Legal Studies in London. As the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the UC Davis School of Law, she founded a First Generation Advocates program for students who are first in their families to attend college or professional school.

Her article, IP3, 59 Stanford Law Review 257 (2006) was the “Most Cited International Intellectual Property Article of the Decade (2016),” a “Top 20 Most Cited Intellectual Property Article of the Decade (2016),” and was selected as the “Best Paper in Law and Culture” for the Stanford/Yale Junior Faculty Forum in 2006. Her article with Anupam Chander, The Romance of the Public Domain, 92 California Law Review 1331 (2004), was a “Top 20 Most Cited Intellectual Property Article of the Decade (2014).” Her article Piercing the Veil, 112 Yale Law Journal 1399 (2003) is excerpted in books on gender and the law. Her article Cultural Dissent, 54 Stanford Law Review 495 (2001) won the AALS Scholarly Paper Prize (Honorable Mention) in 2002.

After the 2020 pandemic, she helped co-design with colleagues at Harvard Law School, Emory Law School, and Hong Kong University Law School the online PatentX course for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on patents and public health.

In 2014, she was elected to the school board in Davis, California and served as president of the board, where she helped lead the district to be one of the first in California to adopt later school start times for teens. In 2006 she led a campaign to name the first school in the country named after civil rights hero Fred T. Korematsu in Davis, California. Currently, Madhavi serves on the DC Regional Council for the Smithsonian and as a member of the board of the Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP), a partnership of 20 autonomous women’s rights organizations in the Global South that promote women’s leadership and human rights.

Madhavi holds an A.B. from Harvard and J.D. from Stanford. She clerked for Judge Harry Pregerson on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Los Angeles, California and was an associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in New York City.

Professor Madhavi Sunder Image
Areas of Expertise
Intellectual Property
Communications Law