Sapna Kumar

Sapna Kumar

  • Henry J. Fletcher Professor of Law
428 Mondale Hall


  • University of Texas, B.S.
  • University of Texas, B.A.
  • University of Chicago, J.D.


  • Intellectual Property
  • Administrative Law
  • Patent Law
  • Property Law

Sapna Kumar joined the Law School faculty in Fall 2023 as the Henry J. Fletcher Professor of Law. Her scholarship focuses on international law and administrative law issues relating to patent rights. Her most recent research examines how patent rights can hinder access to medicine during public health emergencies. Her article Contractual Solutions to Overcome Drug Scarcity During Pandemics and Epidemics (with Ana Santos Rutschman) was published in Nature Biotechnology and her follow-up book chapter Planning for Pandemic and Epidemic-Related Drug Scarcity (with Ana Santos Rutschman), will be published in Intellectual Property, COVID-19, and the Next Pandemic: Diagnosing Problems, Developing Cures (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press).

Professor Kumar is a 2018–2019 Fulbright-Schuman Innovation Grant recipient, which allowed her to research Europe’s use of technically-trained patent judges at the University of Strasbourg’s Center for International Intellectual Property Studies and at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition in Munich. In Fall of 2022, Professor Kumar received a Visitor Grant to serve as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Copenhagen Centre for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation. She has been invited to present her research around the world, including at Hokkaido University (Japan), Tilburg University (Netherlands), and the Ludwig Maximilian University (Germany).

Professor Kumar received her J.D. at the University of Chicago Law School, where she served as a staff member of the University of Chicago Law Review. From 2003 to 2006, she practiced intellectual property litigation in Chicago at Kirkland & Ellis LLP and later, at Pattishall McAuliffe. She then spent two years at Duke University Law School, where she was a Faculty Fellow and part of the Center for Genome Ethics Law & Policy. After completing her fellowship, Professor Kumar clerked for Judge Kenneth Ripple on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Professor Kumar was formerly the John Mixon Chair in Law at the University of Houston Law Center. While on the UHLC faculty, she was awarded the Order of Barons Professor of the Year, the Student Bar Association Faculty of the Year, and the university-wide Teaching Excellence Award.

International Intellectual Property


Legislation and Regulation - 1L

Legislation and Regulation

Advanced Administrative Law

Journal Articles

Centralizing Pharmaceutical Innovation, 83 Maryland Law Review 653 (2024)
Compulsory Licensing of Patents During Pandemics, 54 Connecticut Law Review 57 (2022)
Contractual Solutions to Overcome Drug Scarcity During Pandemics and Epidemics, 40 Nature Biotechnology 301 (2022)
Ana Santos Rutschman
Judging Patents, 62 William and Mary Law Review 871 (2021)
Promoting Public Health Through State Sovereign Immunity, 4 Journal of Law & Innovation 1 (2021)
Innovation Nationalism, 51 Connecticut Law Review 205 (2019)
Patent Court Specialization, 104 Iowa Law Review 2511 (2019)
Patent Damages Without Borders, 25 Texas Intellectual Property Law Journal 73 (2017)
Standing Against Bad Patents, 32 Berkeley Technology Law Journal 87 (2017)
Regulating Digital Trade, 67 Florida Law Review 1909 (2015)
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Genetic Information, 65 Alabama Law Review 625 (2014)
The Accidental Agency?, 65 Florida Law Review 229 (2013)
Expert Court, Expert Agency, 44 U.C. Davis Law Review 1547 (2011)
Proprietary Science, Open Science, and the Role of Patent Disclosure: The Case of Zinc Finger Proteins, 27 Nature Biotechnology 140 (2009)
Subhashini Chandrasekharan
Cory M. Valley
Arti Rai
The Other Patent Agency: Congressional Regulation of the ITC, 61 Florida Law Review 529 (2009)
Synthetic Biology: The Intellectual Property Puzzle, 85 Texas Law Review 1745 (2007)
Arti Rai
Enforcing the GNU GPL, 2006 University of Illinois Journal of Law, Technology and Policy 1 (2006)
Website Libel and the Single Publication Rule, 70 University of Chicago Law Review 639 (2003) (comment)

Book Chapters

Planning for Pandemic and Epidemic-Related Drug Scarcity, in Intellectual Property, COVID-19, and the Next Pandemic: Diagnosing Problems, Developing Cures (Haochen Sun & Madhavi Sunder, eds., Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2024)
Ana Santos Rutschman

Other Publications

Introduction to the IPIL National Conference 2022, 60 Houston Law Review 259 (2022)
Using Contracts to Lessen Inequities in Access to Medicines in Pandemics and Epidemics, Bill of Health (Mar. 25, 2022)
Ana Santos Rutschman
Reducing Drug Scarcity During Pandemics and Epidemics Through Contracts, Nature Health Community (Mar. 18, 2022)
Ana Santos Rutschman
WTO Global Health: Shifting Away from a Punishment Mindset, PatentlyO (May 9, 2021)
Pandemic Drug Shortages: Is Compulsory Licensing the Answer? PatentlyO (Jan. 28, 2021)
Judge-Made Solutions to Patent Litigation, 18 Chicago-Kent Journal of Intellectual Property 508 (2019)
Introduction, Trademark Law, 56 Houston Law Review 267 (2018)
Introduction, Patent Law and Progress, 55 Houston Law Review 265 (2017)
Developments in ClearCorrect v. USITC, PatentlyO (Aug. 16, 2015)
Digital Information at the Border, PatentlyO (July 28, 2015)
Gene Patents and Patient Rights, 35 Whittier Law Review 363 (2014)
The Impact of Gene Patents on Patient Liberty Interests, USPTO Roundtable on Genetic Diagnotic Testing (2013)
Introduction, IP and Information Law in the Administrative State, 50 Houston Law Review 381 (2012)
An Uncomfortable Fit?: Intellectual Property Policy and the Administrative State, 14 Marquette Intellectual Property law Review 441 (2010) (panel discussion)
The Bilski Decision: What Does it Mean for the Future of Business Method and Software Patents?, Computer Law Review International (Aug. 14, 2010)
GPL Version 3’s DRM and Patent Clauses Under German and U.S. Law, Computer Law Review International (Apr. 15, 2008)
Olaf Koglin

Selected Legal Briefs

Amicus Brief of the Houston Intellectual Property Law Association in Support of Neither Party, WesternGeco LLC v. Ion Geophysical Corp., 16-1011 (2018)
Ifti Ahmed