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.