About Us

The Duke Law Center for Innovation Policy is dedicated to collaborative inquiry and scholarship at the intersection of law and innovation policy.  The center brings scholars, practitioners, innovators, and policymakers together to facilitate examination of regulatory policy affecting innovation generally as well as sector-specific areas such as the life sciences, information and communications technology, and energy-related technology.  The center focuses particular attention on federal policies that affect innovation in the United States.

In addition to public conferences, such as its inaugural conference on “New Approaches and Incentives in Drug Development,” held on Nov. 22, 2013 in Washington, D.C., the center hosts small off-the-record roundtables at which entrepreneurs, innovators, policymakers, and academics have frank discussions about important issues in innovation and the role that regulatory policy can play in dealing with those issues. 

The center complements existing centers and programs at Duke, including the University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, the Duke Law JD/LLM and LLM programs in Law and Entrepreneurship, the Duke Law Center for the Study of the Public Domain, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Fuqua School of Business, and Duke Medical School’s Institute for Health Innovation.

Duke Law professors Stuart Benjamin and Arti Rai are the founding co-directors of the center. Benjamin, the Douglas B. Maggs Professor of Law, specializes in telecommunications law, administrative law, and the First Amendment.  From 2009 to 2011, he was the first Distinguished Scholar at the Federal Communications Commission. Rai, the Elvin R. Latty Professor of Law, is an expert in intellectual property law, administrative law, and health policy. She served as the Administrator of the Office of External Affairs at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) from 2009 to 2010, leading the policy analysis of the patent reform legislation that ultimately became the America Invents Act and working to establish the USPTO’s Office of the Chief Economist.  Saurabh Vishnubhakat, a postdoctoral associate at the Center for Innovation Policy and the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy specializes in intellectual property law, civil procedure, and litigation.  Since 2010, he has also served as an expert legal advisor in the USPTO's Office of Chief Economist.