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At the Heart of Innovation

Amy L. Landers

About the time that Microsoft reached its 10th anniversary in the mid-1990s, the entire tech world came to the starting realization that it faced a growing array of legal problems.

And there was Amy Landers, who had cut her teeth professionally with Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, mastering civil litigation in many forms. 

Having spent a year and a half in the firm’s San Francisco headquarters, Landers moved to its Silicon Valley office as soon as it opened.

“The tech industry opened its eyes,” said Landers, who joined the faculty and became director of the Intellectual Property Law Program in 2014. “People were starting to realize they needed a significant legal help.”

Working with clients like Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Affymetrix, and NCR gave Landers a deep understanding of intellectual property in the high-tech sphere.  She also found it fascinating to learn what made the innovative behemoths click, specifically the ways they perceived the legal issues before them and devised strategies for growth.

By 2004, Landers was ready to make the move to teaching, which would enable her to write and explore topics tied to innovation and intellectual property from a scholarly perspective.

She became a tenured professor at the University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law, and published “Understanding Patent Law,” the third edition of which is in the works, and co-authored “Global Issues in Intellectual Property Law” and “Global Issues in Patent Law.”

A prolific scholar, Landers’ more recent work includes explorations of unseen risks in the emerging patent market and the potential value of non-practicing entities, often referred to as “patent trolls,” for fueling innovation. 

Landers is thrilled to join the Kline School of Law faculty and the Philadelphia community.

“It is a great teaching and scholarly environment,” she said of the school.  “And I love the Philly area – it’s a great IP community.”

In the coming year, Landers aims to make some adjustments to the IP concentration that will allow students to be more self-directed in their course selections.

Although Landers retains a profound respect for the work of legal practitioners, she loves the give-and-take of life in the classroom.

“There’s a part of the semester when the lights really go on and the students start to understand the consequences of what they’ve learned, and that’s so inspiring,” she said. “Seeing that growth is so gratifying.”

There’s just one part of teaching that Landers would gladly skip, if only she could.

“Grading,” she said, “is the only part of the job that seems like work.”