March 2, 2018

The Cardozo-Google Patent Project seeks to provide women and minorities with resources and guidance to pursue patent protection for their innovations

March 2, 2018 - Cardozo School of Law is proud to announce that Jeanne C. Curtis has joined the faculty of Cardozo Law School as part of its nationally ranked IP program. Professor Curtis will serve as the inaugural director of the Cardozo/Google Patent Diversity Project and will also serve as a visiting assistant clinical professor.

The patent diversity project is a new program at Cardozo, funded through a $200,000 grant from Google. It was created with the goal of increasing the number of U.S. patents issued with women and underrepresented minorities as named inventors.

Currently, less than eight percent of U.S. patents list women as the primary inventor. A similar trend exists for other minority groups. Cardozo has learned through the work of its Tech Startup Clinic that companies founded by women and minorities are disproportionately in need of pro bono legal assistance to secure patents and protect their intellectual property rights.

Before joining Cardozo’s faculty, Professor Curtis spent more than 20 years in private practice specializing in intellectual property law with a particular emphasis on patent and trade secret law. She was a partner at Fish & Neave LLP and then at Ropes & Gray LLP. She counseled clients on the creation, protection and enforcement of their intellectual property. She successfully tried and won cases in federal courts and tribunals around the country. Professor Curtis has also been a frequent speaker on patents and trade secrets.

Professor Curtis is excited about the Cardozo-Google Patent Project. “It is a unique program in the law school space…unlike any offered by a law school or other institution.” Professor Curtis further stated, “There are a lot of components involved in organizing a vehicle that will provide pro bono legal services to prospective patentees; the role as project director presents a great opportunity for me to create and build a program that will make a difference. The U.S. has made some progress getting women and other underrepresented groups into STEM fields. That work needs to keep going as there is much left to do. Another step along the innovation continuum – and one that also very much needs attention – is to get patent protection for the technology developed by these groups. The Cardozo/Google Project is here to advance that goal for individuals and entrepreneurs who do not otherwise have access to the patenting process because of limited resources.”

Professor Curtis also teaches intellectual property as an adjunct professor of law at the University of New Hampshire School of Law (formerly Franklin Pierce Law Center). 

Professor Curtis received both a B.A. in mathematics and a J.D. from Boston University.

Google provided a $200,000 grant for Cardozo to launch the program and help build a sustainable network of pro bono lawyers for patent work both now and in the future.

Cardozo’s nationally-ranked IP program, a network of in-house counsel, private law firms and pro bono legal clinics will work together through a centrally managed national network to offer assistance.

There are in excess of 125 law school clinics across the country focused on small business/entrepreneurship, community economic development and IP all with local networks of entrepreneurs who need assistance. The patent project will work with these clinics to tap into and support underrepresented groups of prospective patentees. The project will also seek to build relationships with governments, agencies, local, state and national bar associations, premier technology organizations and entrepreneurial networks.

For further information about the project, please contact Professor Curtis at jeanne.curtis@yu.edu