Directors & Staff
- Sean O’Connor, Executive Director & Senior Scholar
- Sandra Aistars, Director of Copyright Research and Policy & Senior Scholar
- Kevin Madigan, Deputy Director
- Kristina Pietro, Director of Operations and Events
- Devlin Hartline, Assistant Director
- Chris Katopis, Assistant Director
- Mary Clare Durel, Program Assistant
- Vanessa Pierce Rollins, Affiliate Fellow
- David Lund, John F. Witherspoon Legal Fellow
- Taisuke Goto, Visiting Research Fellow
- Bhamati Viswanathan, Legal Fellow
Sean O’Connor, Executive Director & Senior Scholar
Direct Dial: (703) 993-8937
Sean O’Connor joined CPIP as a Senior Scholar in 2014 and as Executive Director in 2019. He is Professor of Law at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University. Prior to joining Scalia Law, Professor O’Connor was Boeing International Professor of Law at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle. His research focuses on intellectual property and business law with regard to start-ups and commercializing technology and arts innovation. His teaching and law practice specialize in transactions and the strategic role of the general counsel. Professor O’Connor received his law degree from Stanford Law School, a master’s degree in philosophy from Arizona State University, and a bachelor’s degree in history from University of Massachusetts. He is currently working on Method+ology and the Means of Innovation to be published by Oxford University Press. His scholarly articles can be downloaded here.
Sandra Aistars, Director of Copyright Research and Policy & Senior Scholar
Direct Dial: (703) 993-8158
Sandra Aistars is Director of Copyright Research and Policy and a Senior Scholar at CPIP. She also leads the law school’s Arts & Entertainment Advocacy Program. Professor Aistars has over twenty years of advocacy experience on behalf of copyright and other intellectual property owners. She has served on trade missions and been an industry advisor to the Department of Commerce on intellectual property implications for international trade negotiations; worked on legislative and regulatory matters worldwide; frequently testified before Congress and federal agencies regarding intellectual property matters; chaired cross-industry coalitions and technology standards efforts; and is regularly tapped by government agencies to lecture in U.S. government-sponsored study tours for visiting legislators, judges, prosecutors, and regulators.
Immediately prior to joining Scalia Law, Aistars was the Chief Executive Officer of the Copyright Alliance – a nonprofit, public interest organization that represents the interests of artists and creators across the creative spectrum. While at Scalia Law, she continues to collaborate with the Copyright Alliance as a member of its Academic Advisory Board. Aistars has also previously served as Vice President and Associate General Counsel at Time Warner Inc. She began her legal career in private practice at Weil, Gotshal and Manges LLP.
Kevin Madigan, Deputy Director
Direct Dial: (703) 993-8241
Kevin Madigan joined CPIP in January of 2016. As Deputy Director, Kevin works closely with CPIP scholars in their research and promotion of comprehensive intellectual property law and policy. Before joining CPIP, Kevin worked as an intellectual property Research Associate at Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner and also interned at the Recording Industry Association of America.
Kevin earned his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law and an LL.M. with concentrations in trademark and copyright law from George Washington University Law School. Kevin holds a B.A. in history from Boston College and writes about current IP issues in his blog mistercopyright.org.
Kristina Pietro, Director of Operations and Events
Direct Dial: (703) 993-8177
Kristina Pietro joined CPIP in November of 2013. Prior to joining CPIP, Kristina was a Meetings Coordinator for Association Innovation Management, a scientific association management company. Kristina is a 2012 graduate of George Mason University, earning a B.A. in Communications and Public Relations.
Devlin Hartline, Assistant Director
Direct Dial: (703) 993-8086
Devlin Hartline is Assistant Director at the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP) and Assistant Professor of Law at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University, in Arlington, Virginia. As Assistant Director, Devlin leads CPIP’s communications and academic advocacy efforts, working closely with CPIP scholars to publicize and promote rigorous research on the law, economics, and history of intellectual property. Devlin’s research agenda spans a broad spectrum of doctrinal and political issues in intellectual property law, with particular focus on the equitable titles and rights of copyright and patent owners. Devlin teaches intellectual property law, including copyright law and patent law, at Scalia Law.
Devlin holds a J.D., cum laude, from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and an LL.M. with concentrations in intellectual property and constitutional law from Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana. Devlin also holds a B.A. in mathematics from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Chris Katopis, Assistant Director
Direct Dial: (703) 993-8232
Chris Katopis is Assistant Director at CPIP. As Assistant Director, Chris works closely with CPIP scholars in their research and the promotion of comprehensive intellectual property law and policy. Prior to joining CPIP, Chris served in a number of roles in the federal government and private practice. In government, he was the Legislative Director and Counsel to U.S. Representatives Sonny Bono and Mary Bono; later, he served as a counsel to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, IP and Courts Subcommittee. At the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Chris served as the Deputy Administrator for External Affairs and Director of Congressional Relations. He was a law clerk for the Hon. Pauline Newman at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. During his government tenure, Chris worked on a number of IP and trade related matters ranging from patent reform legislation; the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act; TRIPs/trade FTAs; geographic indications; privacy and Internet policy; and, federal agency oversight.
Chris has written extensively on patent law and policy, including scholarship such as Perfect Happiness?: Game Theory As A Tool For Enhancing Patent Quality, 10 Yale J.L. & Tech. 360 (2008). Further, he has testified before the U.S. Congress on numerous occasions. In addition to his CPIP work, Chris is active in a number of professional organizations. He is a member of the American Bar Association (ABA) Intellectual Property Law Division Council, as well as, serving as a past Chair and Vice-Chair of the Intellectual Property Committee of the IEEE-USA. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, School of Engineering (B.S.) and the Temple University School of Law (J.D.). Chris is named as an inventor on more than 70 U.S. patents.
Jonathan Barnett, Senior Scholar
Direct Dial: (213) 740-4792
Jonathan Barnett is a Senior Scholar at CPIP. He is a Professor of Law at the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law, where he is also Director of the Media, Entertainment and Technology Law Program. He specializes in intellectual property, antitrust and corporate law, with a focus on the transactional functions of intellectual property rights in information technology and content markets. Barnett has published in the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, Journal of Institutional Economics, Harvard Journal of Law & Technology, Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Journal of Corporation Law, Journal of Legal Studies, Review of Law & Economics, Jurimetrics and other scholarly journals. His scholarly articles can be downloaded here and here.
Most recently, Professor Barnett’s research has focused on the empirical and historical study of standard-setting, patent pools and licensing structures in information technology and other innovation markets. In 2018, Professor Barnett discussed the Supreme Court case, Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, in a piece that appeared in Regulation, published by the Cato Institute. In 2017, Professor Barnett was the co-lead author in an amicus brief signed by 44 law and economics scholars in the Supreme Court case, Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc.
Professor Barnett joined USC Law in 2006 and was a visiting professor at New York University School of Law in fall 2010. Prior to academia, Barnett practiced corporate law as a senior associate at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in New York, specializing in private equity and mergers and acquisitions transactions. He was also a visiting assistant professor at Fordham University School of Law in New York. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he received a MPhil from Cambridge University and a JD from Yale Law School.
Eric Claeys, Senior Scholar
Direct Dial: (703) 993-8247
Eric R. Claeys is a Senior Scholar at CPIP. He is Professor of Law at the Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University. Professor Claeys is visiting Harvard Law School in spring of 2018, and he was a visiting fellow in spring of 2017 at his alma mater, Princeton University, in the Politics Department’s James Madison Program for American Ideals and Institutions. Professor Claeys is also a member of the American Law Institute and an advisor to the Restatement (Fourth) of Property. Professor Claeys writes on the influence of theories of labor and flourishing on property and intellectual property. He has written on trade secrecy, remedies for IP infringement, and flourishing-based justifications for IP rights. Professor Claeys’s scholarly articles may be downloaded here.
Chris Holman, Senior Scholar
Direct Dial: (816) 235-2384
Chris Holman joined CPIP as a Senior Scholar in 2014. He is a Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, where his primary research focus lies at the intersection of intellectual property and biotechnology. He has published numerous articles in law reviews and scientific publications such as Science, Cell, and Nature Biotechnology, and has authored amicus briefs in a number of important biotechnology patent cases at the Supreme Court and Federal Circuit. In 2008 he was awarded the Daniel L Brenner Faculty Publishing Award for an influential law review article on human gene patent litigation. Prior to becoming a law professor, Holman served as vice-president of intellectual property and patent counsel at several Silicon Valley biotechnology companies and worked as an associate at a major intellectual property law firm. He was also a tenure-track chemistry professor in the California State University system.
Erika Lietzan, Senior Scholar
Direct Dial: 573-882-6753
Erika Lietzan is a Senior Scholar at CPIP. She is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Missouri–Columbia, where she teaches and writes in the areas of drug and device regulation, intellectual property, and administrative law. Her primary research focus lies at the intersection of intellectual property law and FDA regulation of medical products. Her scholarship has focused on the new drug research and development paradigm and its impact on incentives to innovate, innovation and competition in the marketplace for biological medicines, the incentive for generic drug applicants to challenge innovator patents, data exclusivity for drug and biological medicine innovators, and mandatory public disclosure of clinical data in drug applications, among other issues. Her articles can be downloaded here.
Professor Lietzan brings to her scholarship and teaching eighteen years of private practice experience, eight of them as a partner at Covington & Burling in Washington, DC. She received her law degree from Duke University, a master’s degree in history from UCLA, and bachelor’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina.
Kristen Osenga, Senior Scholar
Direct Dial: (804) 289-8112
Kristen Osenga joined CPIP as a Senior Scholar in 2014. She is a Professor of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law, where she teaches and writes in the areas of intellectual property, patent law, law and language, and legislation and regulation. Her scholarship has focused on patent eligible subject matter, commercialization of patented innovation, and the intersection of law and linguistics in patent claim construction, among other aspects of patent law. Her scholarly articles can be downloaded here. Professor Osenga is a frequent speaker at symposia on patent law and intellectual property and has made numerous presentations to academic, bar, and industry audiences. Prior to joining academia, she practice patent law and clerked for Judge Richard Linn of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Eric Priest, Senior Scholar
Direct Dial: (541) 346-0414
Eric Priest joined CPIP as a Senior Scholar in 2014. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon School of Law, where he teaches and researches in the area of intellectual property law with a focus on copyright law in the information age and creative industry ecosystems in the U.S. and China. Before joining the Oregon Law faculty in 2009, he was a fellow at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society working on the NOANK Digital Media Exchange project in China, a collective licensing project for the monetized, legal distribution of digital works over peer-to-peer networks. At the Berkman Center, he also researched and analyzed Internet censorship and surveillance practices in several Asian countries for the center’s OpenNet Initiative. Previously, Eric was an intellectual property associate at the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney LLP. His scholarly publications can be downloaded here.
Eric currently serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-China IP Cooperation Dialogue expert panel, which involves a multi-round dialog in Washington D.C. and China between U.S. and Chinese experts on the most challenging IP issues facing China. The National Committee on U.S.–China Relations recently named him a 2014–2016 Public Intellectuals Program Fellow. Eric holds a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School, a J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Chicago-Kent Law Review, and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Minnesota.
Ted Sichelman, Senior Scholar
Direct Dial: (619) 260-7512
Ted Sichelman is a Senior Scholar at CPIP. He is a Professor of Law at the University of San Diego, where he is also Director of the Center for Intellectual Property Law & Markets and Executive Director of the Center for Computation, Mathematics, and the Law. He teaches and writes in the areas of patent law, intellectual property, law and entrepreneurship, empirical legal studies, law and economics, and law and artificial intelligence.
Professor Sichelman’s works have been or will be published in the Stanford Law Review, Northwestern University Law Review, Texas Law Review, Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Harvard Journal of Law & Technology, Berkeley Technology Law Journal, and many other journals and books. Professor Sichelman’s publications have been highly cited. As of April 2016, his articles Commercializing Patents and Life After Bilski are the first and second most-cited of all intellectual property law articles published since 2010 (according to HeinOnline). Life After Bilski has also been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court (Mayo v. Prometheus (2012)) and over 20 other judicial opinions. Professor Sichelman’s articles can be downloaded here.
Professor Sichelman has participated in a number of U.S. Supreme Court cases, including playing a substantial role in a win for an injured employee in MetLife v. Glenn (2008); drafting an amicus brief in the patent case, Bilski v. Kappos (2010), in which the court largely adopted the recommendations and reasoning of the brief; and drafting amicus briefs in three other important patent cases, Global-Tech v. SEB (2011), Impression Products v. Lexmark International (2017), and TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods (2017). In 2011, he worked with the office of U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren to draft proposed language for the recently passed America Invents Act, the most substantial revision to the Patent Act since 1952. In 2012, he served on the Lieutenant Governor of California’s task force to place a satellite office of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in California.
Professor Sichelman earned an undergraduate degree in the History of Philosophy of Science, with distinction, from Stanford University and a Master’s degree in Physics from Florida State University. He founded and ran a venture capital-backed software and services company, Unified Dispatch, which was later acquired by a publicly traded company. Professor Sichelman designed the company’s software and is a named inventor on several issued and filed patents and applications. After graduating from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, he clerked for the Honorable A. Wallace Tashima of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He practiced in the areas of intellectual property litigation and appeals at the law firms of Heller Ehrman and Irell & Manella and is currently Of Counsel at Progress, LLP, an IP boutique law firm based in California. In 2008 and 2009, he was a Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Fellow at the UC Berkeley School of Law. In 2016, he was a visiting professor at Harvard Law School.
Vanessa Pierce Rollins, Affiliate Fellow
Direct Dial: (202) 834-0833
Vanessa Pierce Rollins joined CPIP in November of 2018 as an Affiliate Fellow. Rollins most recently served as Senior Counsel for International and Legal Affairs for the Intellectual Property Owner’s Association. During her six years with IPO, Rollins represented the association as a lead negotiator during domestic and international meetings including the TM5, ID5, IP5, and Trilateral meetings, and fact-finding trips to China, Korea, Japan, and India. Rollins specialized in intellectual property-related legislation and regulations, agreements for international trade, and issues related to international IP law harmonization, and has testified or spoken on these issues before the USPTO, USTR, and Trilateral and IP5 Offices.
Prior to joining IPO, Rollins was a full-time law school professor in Michigan at Wayne State University Law School and Ava Maria School of Law, teaching patent, copyright, trademark, and contracts courses. Rollins has written several intellectual property-related articles and lectured frequently for various organizations. Before becoming a professor, Rollins practiced intellectual property law for eight years in private practice where she assisted clients through the entire product development cycle, from the earliest decision to seek patent protection to the ultimate branding of the final product. A registered patent attorney, Rollins also has expertise in negotiating and drafting various technology transfer, licensing, confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, and in procuring and enforcing all forms of intellectual property rights.
Rollins has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Utah, honors, and her Juris Doctor (cum laude) from the University of Notre Dame Law School. She is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and is an active member of the California State Bar Association.