Ruth Okediji is an expert on international intellectual property (IP), traditional knowledge and genetic resources. She is the Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and serves as co-director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.
Ruth has contributed her expertise to the design of a legal framework for the regulation of genetic resources and traditional knowledge, with a particular emphasis on policy and regulatory mechanisms that can best align national policies to support Indigenous innovation. She has developed case studies mapping and analyzing modalities for the protection and commercialization of traditional knowledge in light of emerging advances in science and trends in regional/multilateral trade agreements and IP harmonization.
An internationally renowned scholar, teacher and expert in international IP law, Ruth and her work have influenced governments, international organizations and regional economic communities on issues such as access to medicines, copyright and the right to culture, and the relationship among IP, innovation institutions and economic development.
In 2011–2012, she was a member of the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy Committee on the Impact of Copyright Policy on Innovation in the Digital Era. In 2013, she served as the lead technical negotiator for the federal government of Nigeria at the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities (Marrakesh Treaty), and has continued to provide expert assistance to the Africa Group on a variety of IP negotiations. In 2015, then United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed her to the High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines.
Ruth’s most recent books are Copyright Law in an Age of Limitations and Exceptions (Cambridge University Press, 2017) and (as co-author with Laurence R. Helfer, Molly K. Land and Jerome H. Reichman) The World Blind Union Guide to the Marrakesh Treaty (Oxford University Press, 2017).