Ruth L. Okediji

Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

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 intergovernmental organisations, 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 centres, and international organisations 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.


3 September 2018
The new technological frontier suggests that a more radical conception of global copyright norms will be necessary to preserve, and even advance, public benefit in the era of digital trade. A profound challenge for copyright and information policy in a world of digital trade is how the technical...

Bridges news

8 November 2018
En la era de la inteligencia artificial, los cambios en el mercado creativo revelan la necesidad de reformular las normas de derecho de autor que rigen el sector. ¿Cuáles son los principales retos para el diseño de estas normas a nivel internacional?
14 December 2010
Technology transfer has long been associated with classic justifications for participation by developing and least-developed countries (LDCs) in the global intellectual property system. For these countries, access to new technologies, including environmentally sound technologies, is integrally...
6 April 2010
En dépit du rôle incontestable de l'innovation dans la croissance de la productivité (et donc dans le renforcement des perspectives de développement), l'accès des pays en développement et des pays les moins avancés (PMA) aux nouvelles technologies reste l'un des domaines les plus contestés de la...
26 March 2010
Despite the indisputable role of innovation in productivity growth (and thus in enhancing development prospects), access to new technologies by developing countries (DCs) and least developed countries (LDCs) remains one of the most contested areas of international economic regulation. The...