Christopher A. Cotropia

Dennis I. Belcher Professor of Law
Director, Intellectual Property Institute


Professor Chris Cotropia is director of the School of Law's Intellectual Property Institute. He writes in the areas of patent law, intellectual property, and federal courts. He is the author of numerous book chapters, amicus briefs, and law review articles on these subjects, and his scholarship has appeared in the UCLA Law Review, William & Mary Law Review, Hastings Law Journal, Notre Dame Law Review, North Carolina Law Review, Yale Journal of Law and Technology, and Berkeley Technology Law Journal, among other venues. Prior to joining the Richmond Law faculty, Professor Cotropia was the C. J. Morrow Research Professor of Law at Tulane University School of Law.


University of Richmond's Distinguished Educator Award, Spring 2015


Presenter, "Gender Discrimination in Online Markets," 13th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies, University Michigan and Society for Empirical Legal Studies, University of Michigan (Nov. 2018).

Presenter, "Convergence and Conflation in Online Copyright," Intellectual Property Scholars Conference, Berkeley Law, University of California (Aug. 2018).

Presenter, "Crowdfunding and Patents," Intellectual Property Scholars Conference, Berkeley Law, University of California (Aug. 2018).

Presenter, "Recent Decisions Regarding Ethical Behavior at the USPTO," Greater Richmond Intellectual Property Association Meeting, University of Richmond, Richmond (March 2018).

Commentator, Janet Freilich's "Prophetic Patents," 5th Annual Empirical Patent Law Conference, Duke Law School (April 2017).

Presenter, "Using Crowdfunding Data to Gain Insights into Patent Theory," PatCon 7, Northwestern Law School (April 2017).

Presenter, "Year in Review: Other Key Cases from the Federal Circuit and Supreme Court," Advanced Patent Law Institute, USPTO (March 2017).

Presenter, "Design Patents: Current Issues," Intellectual Property Law Symposium - Design Patents: Are They Necessary? William & Mary Law School (Oct. 2016).

Presenter, "Using Crowdfunding Data to Gain Insights into Patent Theory," Faculty Research Conversations, University of Richmond School of Law (Oct. 2016).

Commentator, "Comments on Colleen Chien's 'Reconceptualizing Patent Comparables,'" University of Texas School of Law and Intel Corporation (June 2016).

Presenter, "Empirical Analysis of Settlement, Case Progression, and Adjudication in Patent Disputes," American Law and Economics Association Twenty-Sixth Annual Meeting, Harvard Law School (May 2016).

Presenter, "Patent Assertion Entities and Patent Litigation Characteristics and Outcomes," Building an Innovation Economy: The Mechanics of the Patent System A Hoover IP2 Working Group Conference, Hoover Institution, Stanford University (May 2016).

Presenter, "Copyright Validity and Copyright Infringement: An Empirical Study," USPTO Roundtable on Empirical Methods in Intellectual Property, USPTO, Washington, D.C. (April 2016).

Commentator, Comments on Saurabh Vishnubhakat's (Texas A&M Law School) "The Field of Invention," Junior Patent Scholars Roundtable, Notre Dame Law School (April 2016).

Commentator, Comments on Sean Seymore's (Vanderbilt) Article "Reinvention," Patent Scholars Roundtable, Atlanta, Ga. (Feb. 2016).

Presenter, "Higher Education and the DMCA, Conference on Empirical Research on Copyright Issues," Chicago-Kent College of Law (Nov. 2015).

Presenter, "Physicalism and Patent Theory, Symposium," The Patent Disclosure, Vanderbilt University Law School (Nov. 2015).

Presenter, "Heterogeneity Among Patent Owners in Litigation," Tenth Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies, Washington University (Nov. 2015).

Presenter, "Empirical Analysis of Patent Validity," Northwestern University School of Law (Aug. 2015).

Presenter, "Patent Eligible Subject Matter: Key Cases and Current Requirements," United States Patent and Trademark Office (March 2015).

Presenter, "USPTO’s Patentable Subject Matter Analysis after Alice," United States Patent and Trademark Office (Feb. 2015).

Presenter, "Gender Disparity in Law Review Citation Rates," Ninth Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies, University of California, Berkeley (Nov. 2014).


District of Columbia

Bar Admissions


Professor of Law


Professional Experience

Dennis I. Belcher Professor of Law (2019-Present)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va.

Director, Intellectual Property Institute (2014-present)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va.

Professor of Law (2009-2019)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va.

Associate Professor of Law (2006-2009)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va.

C.J. Morrow Research Associate Professor of Law (2003-2006)
Tulane University School of Law, New Orleans, LA

Intellectual Property Litigation Associate (2001-2003)
Fish & Richardson P.C., Washington, DC

Law Clerk (1999-2001)
Hon. Alvin A. Schall, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit



Higher Education and the DMCA, 25 Rich. J.L. no. 2 (w/James Gibson) (2018).

Who Benefits from Repealing Tampon Taxes? Empirical Evidence from New Jersey, 15 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 620 (2018) (with Rozema).

Gender Disparity in Law Review Citation Rates, 59 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 771 (2018) (with Lee Petherbridge).

Heterogeneity among Patent Plaintiffs: An Empirical Analysis of Patent Case Progression, Settlement, and Adjudication, 15 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 80 (2018) (with Kesan and Schwartz).

Physicalism and Patent Theory, 69 Vand. L. Rev. 1543 (2016).

Should Your Law Review Have an Abstract and Table of Contents?, 85 Miss. L.J. 295 (2016).

Commentary to the U.S. Copyright Office Regarding the Section 512 Study: Higher Education and the DMCA Safe, IHELG Monograph 17-04 (2016) (with James Gibson).

Is Patent Claim Interpretation Deference or Correction Driven?, 2014 BYU L. Rev. 1095 (2015).

The Dominance of Teams in the Production of Legal Knowledge, 124 Yale L.J.F. 18 (2014) (co-authored with Lee Petherbridge).

Copyright's Topography: An Empirical Study of Copyright Litigation, 92 Tex. L. Rev. 1981 (2014) (symposium – Steps Toward Evidence-Based IP) (co-authored with Jim Gibson).

Predictability and KSR's Fundamental Change to Nonobviousness in Patent Law, 20 Mich. Telecomm. Tech. L. Rev. 391 (2014).

Unpacking Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs), 99 Minn. L. Rev. 649 (2014) (co-authored with Jay Kesan and David Schwartz).

Patent Applications and the Performance of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 23 Fed. Cir. Bar J. 179 (2013) (with Cecil D. Quillen, Jr. and Ogden H. Webster).

Do Applicant Patent Citations Matter?, 42 Res. Pol'y 844 (2013) (with Mark Lemley and Bhaven Sampat). [Journal]

What is the "Invention"?, 53 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1855 (2012).

Conflict of Interest Issues in Patent Litigation, in IP Enforcement and Litigation 2012: Civil and Criminal Update, at 519 (PLI Intell. Prop., Course Handbook Series No. G-1086, 2012).

The Strength of the International Trade Commission as a Patent Venue, 19 Tex. Intell. Prop. L.J. 1 (2011). 

Determining Uniformity Within the Federal Circuit by Measuring Dissent and En Banc Review, 43 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 801 (2010). 

The Individual Inventor Motif in the Age of the Patent Troll, 12 Yale J.L. & Tech. 52 (2010).

The Upside of Intellectual Property's Downside, 57 UCLA L. Rev. 921 (2010) (with James Gibson). 

Describing Patents as Real Options, 34 J. Corp. L. 1127 (2009).

Modernizing Patent Law's Inequitable Conduct Doctrine, 24 Berkeley Tech. L.J. 723 (2009). 

The Unreasonableness of the Patent Office's "Broadest Reasonable Interpretation" Standard, 37 AIPLA Q. J. 285 (2009) (co-authored with Dawn-Marie Bey). 

The Folly of Early Filing in Patent Law, 61 Hastings L. J. 65 (2009).

Copying in Patent Law, 87 N.C.L. Rev. 1421 (2009) (co-authored with Mark Lemley).

Nonobviousness and the Federal Circuit: An Empirical Analysis of Recent Case Law, 82 Notre Dame L. Rev. 911 (2007).

Patent Law Viewed Through an Evidentiary Lens: The "Suggestion Test" as a Rule of Evidence, 2006 B.Y.U.L. Rev. 1517. 

Patent Claim Interpretation Methodologies and Their Claim Scope Paradigms, 47 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 49 (2005).

Do Applicant Patent Citations Matter? Implications for the Presumption of Validity, at the Second Annual Research Roundtable on Empirical Studies of Patent Litigation, Northwestern University School of Law, November 2010.


Empirical Analysis of Patent Validity, in Research Handbooks on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law (2018) (co-authored with Ronald Mann).

Compulsory Licensing Under TRIPS and the Supreme Court of the United States's Decision in eBay v. MercExchange, in Patent Law and Theory: A Handbook of Contemporary Research (Toshiko Takenaka ed., Edward Elgar Publishing 2009). [SSRN]

Internet, in Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States (David S. Tanenhau ed., MacMillian 2008).


B.S., Northwestern University 1996

J.D., University of Texas School of Law 1999

Contact Information

Room 321, Law School
(804) 484-1574
(804) 289-8992 (Fax)

Areas of Expertise

Intellectual Property
Patent Law
Computer Law