Leonardo da Vinci Fellowship Research Grants

The Leonardo da Vinci Fellowship Research Grant Program provides significant funding for scholarship in intellectual property law. This program is a key component of CPIP’s mission to promote a better discussion about intellectual property rights and their fundamental role in a successful and flourishing economy.

Proposed research topics can be in any IP or IP-related field, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, or rights of publicity, among others. The research proposals can address any topic or issue within these fields, providing economic, philosophical, historical, scientific, or doctrinal analysis, among others.


Spotlight on Scholarship

Eric Claeys, Claim Communication in Intellectual Property: A Comment on Right on Time, 100 B.U. L. Rev. Online 4 (2020)

In this paper that was supported by a CPIP Leonardo da Vinci Fellowship Research Grant, CPIP Senior Scholar Eric Claeys responds to a recent article discussing how original acquisition applies to intellectual property law and policy. Prof. Claeys explains that property rights help people to derive value from ownable resources and to coordinate the behavior of different people. Through what he calls “claim communication,” property rights inform people about who gets priority in managing and producing value from the asset. Prof. Claeys argues that this distinct function of property rights is integral to understanding how original acquisition applies to intellectual property.

Jonathan Ashtor, Modeling Patent Clarity (forthcoming)

In this forthcoming paper supported by a CPIP Leonardo da Vinci Fellowship Research Grant, Jonathan Ashtor of Cardozo Law employs sophisticated machine learning techniques to model patent clarity and provide unprecedented empirical analyses of the relationships between patent clarity and the public and private value of patent rights. The results empirically demonstrate the importance of patent clarity to the social and private functions of patents.

Erika Lietzan & Kristina Acri, Distorted Drug Patents, ___ Wash. L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming)

In this forthcoming paper supported by a CPIP Leonardo da Vinci Fellowship Research Grant that will be published in the Washington Law Review, CPIP Director of Life Sciences Erika Lietzan and Professor Kristina Acri of Colorado College investigate whether the patent system provides adequate incentives for innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. Using a large dataset spanning 34 years, they find that longer clinical programs result in shorter effective patent life, even accounting for patent term restoration, which adds to the growing body of literature suggesting that the patent system may be systematically distorting drug research incentives.

Kristen Osenga, Institutional Design for Innovation: A Radical Proposal for Addressing § 101 Patent-Eligible Subject Matter, 68 Am. U. L. Rev. 1191 (2019)

In this paper supported by a CPIP Leonardo da Vinci Fellowship Research Grant, CPIP Senior Scholar Kristen Osenga investigates the jumbled state of patent-eligible subject matter in the United States. Following an analysis of those entities currently wielding the power to make decisions on patent eligibility—and an assessment suggesting that other reforms will not solve the issue at its roots—Professor Osenga instead proposes and defends the revolutionary plan of turning over patent-eligibility decisionmaking authority to the courts.


Proposals are reviewed by a committee of academics with broad knowledge and experience in IP law. The Grant Committee reviews each submission for its quality as an academic research project, considering such issues as novelty of the research topic, viability of the thesis, and contribution to the diversity of academic and public discourse about IP policy.

Any scholar may apply. Leonardo da Vinci Grants are not restricted to full-time, tenure-track, or tenured law professors. Grants are awarded to professors in any field or to individuals working outside of official academic institutions who wish to conduct scholarly research. For instance, graduate students, visiting associate professors, policy analysts, and lawyers have all applied for Leonardo da Vinci Grants in the past.

Grant recipients will have additional opportunities to present their research at CPIP’s conferences and events. CPIP will also work with Leonardo da Vinci Fellows to publicize and promote their work to the scholarly and policy communities through essays, teleforums, panel discussions, and other programs.

Grant amounts are in the four- to five-figure range and are determined based on several factors, including, among others:

  • The nature and scope of the proposed research project and resulting work-product (e.g., essay, article, book, or book chapter)
  • Whether the project requires data collection or experiments
  • The timeliness and relevance of the research project

Amounts available for grants may vary from year to year, depending on the quantity and quality of proposals and the available funding. Leonardo da Vinci Fellows will receive a portion of the grant following approval of the research project and the remaining amount upon acceptance of the research paper (or article, book, etc.). Funded papers must be submitted for publication.

Please note: Expenses not covered by the research grant include but are not limited to: general living and home expenses such as rent, mortgage payments, childcare, storage, etc., (pre-approved travel requiring a short stay is fine), salary, benefits, insurance, tuition fees, institutional overhead/support, expenses of non-project personnel such as family, and expenses incurred prior to the effective date of the grant. Please provide a budget only for the items and amounts you are requesting from CPIP. It is important to include a detailed breakdown, showing how you estimated expenses. If your project is dependent on funding from more than one source, you should include a brief description of the items not covered in your CPIP budget together with the cost of these items. You should indicate in your budget whether your project will be feasible if this additional support is not forthcoming.

For more information about the program, including application procedures, please click here.