Nebraska’s Christal Sheppard is under consideration for a position in the Biden administration.
As reported by multiple online publications, including IP Watchdog, the professor of law and distinguished fellow in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Governance and Technology Center is among candidates to serve as undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Sheppard joined Nebraska’s College of Law faculty in 2011 after more than two decades of science and intellectual property law and policy work. At Nebraska, she co-founded a program of concentrated study in intellectual property law and, in 2015, was named director of the first U.S. Patent and Trademark Office outside of Washington, D.C.
Her background in molecular biology and intellectual property law and how it helps advance CRISPR gene editing technology was recently featured in the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center’s Tech Refactored podcast.
Sheppard’s career in intellectual property law and policy includes a tenure as chief counsel on patents and trademarks for the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, during which she was integral in many endeavors including the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, often described as the most comprehensive change to this nation’s intellectual property laws in over 60 years. Additionally, she served as a practicing attorney at Foley and Lardner international law firm; with the general counsel office of the United States International Trade Commission; as director of the Midwest Regional Office of the United States Patent and Trademark Office; and in internships with Judge Randall R. Rader at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the executive office of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; and in the startup world as an executive with IPwe, Inc.
Her educational background includes a Master of Science and doctorate in cellular and molecular biology from the University of Michigan; a juris doctorate from Cornell University Law School; completion of Harvard’s Executive Education – Senior Managers in Government program; the Federal Executive Institute: Leadership for a Democratic Society; and George Mason University Law and Economic Center’s Economic Institute for Law Professors programs.
Sheppard teaches patent law and international intellectual property in Nebraska’s College of Law. Her work in the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center is focused on developing research and programming relating to patent law and innovation policy. She regularly participates in industry-leading forums such as the Naples Roundtable Leahy Institute of Advanced Patent Studies.
Sheppard has testified before the United States Congress and been quoted by the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones News Wire, Fox Business News, Chicago Sun Times, Politico, Bloomberg Law and many others on a variety of intellectual property and business issues. She regularly presents on intellectual property matters, from basics to advanced, to solo inventors, incubators, small and large companies, students, professors, attorneys, regulators, judges, administrators, regulators and others throughout the innovation ecosystem.