Saurabh Vishnubhakat

Associate Professor of Law


“Of the rewards from a diligent study of the law — and there are many — the first is intellectual care. Before lawyers learn to argue or persuade, we learn to think precisely.”

Get to Know Saurabh Vishnubhakat

What drew you to the law?

I have always been attracted to intersections between disciplines. My prior studies in chemistry combined traditional laboratory analysis with computer science to address biological challenges such as drug targeting and protein folding. Curiosity about patenting scientific discoveries led me to the even broader opportunity to combine scientific literacy with legal training. What keeps me engaged is that legal fields also intersect with each other in rich and often unexpected ways, just as scientific fields do.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

I appreciate instilling in my students an interest in large, elegant ideas. Most law students are bright and curious and are quite capable of navigating the mechanical complexity of rules. What may not always be accessible to them, however, are the fewer, more fundamental concepts behind all that complexity. My job is to guide my students toward that fuller and clearer understanding for which we have long regarded law as one of the learned professions.

What do you hope students gain from your courses?

Law students, especially at the start, often confront not only gaps in knowledge but also uncertainty about the extent of those gaps. For managing this challenge, I hope students take from my courses a posture of patience and organization so that they can identify problems fully and solve them coherently.

What did you do prior to entering academia?

I served in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, advising the agency’s chief economist and other leadership on patent policy. I was also a faculty fellow at Duke Law School, where I taught patent law and researched bioinformatics innovation as well as economic and tort-theory aspects of patent litigation.

What are you passionate about outside of the law?

I love books and music and come from a large family. Put even a few of my relatives in a room, and storytelling and old songs follow. The most fun are my younger nieces and nephews, who have not yet learned that I mostly make it up as I go.

What are your research interests?

I study issues of innovation and intellectual property, particularly patents, and how they affect administrative agencies, federal courts and the marketplace. I also study the broader procedural framework of federal civil litigation. Much of my research is empirical and draws from institutional economics, including transaction cost analysis and principal-agent theory.


Link to my publications.


  • “The Rise of Bioinformatics Examination at the Patent Office,” Works-in-Progress IP Colloquium (Feb. 6-7, 2015)
  • “Patent Propagation: A Research Proposal,” USD Professors’ Patent Law Workshop (Jan. 17, 2015)
  • “Estimating the Effectiveness of Ex Post Patent Review,” USD Fifth Annual Patent Law Conference (Jan. 16, 2015)
  • “Gender Diversity in the Patent Bar,” opening address at the Duke Law School Panel on Women in Patent Law (Nov. 17, 2014)
  • “An Intentional Tort Theory of Patents,” Fourth UNH IP Scholars Roundtable (Sept. 20-21, 2014)
  • “A Relevant Intent Theory of Patents,” 14th IP Scholars Conference (Aug. 7-8, 2014)
  • “How to Lose Friends and Troll Patents,” CLE presentation at Myers Bigel Sibley & Sajovec, P.A. (July 29, 2014)
  • Invited panelist, GMU Roundtable on Patented Innovation in Software and Software-Related Technology (May 8-9, 2014)
  • Invited panelist, Searle Center Research Roundtable on Software and Business Method Patents (April 24-25, 2014)
  • “Informatic Patents from Software to Genes,” annual IP Student Association lecture at the Wake Forest University School of Law (April 10, 2014)
  • “Ex Post Assessment, Human Rights, and the Public Domain,” PatCon 4: The Patent Conference (April 4-5, 2014)
  • “Cognitive Economy and the Trespass Fallacy,” IP Scholars Roundtable (March 28-29, 2014)
  • “The Patent Bar Gender Data File,” Works-in-Progress IP Colloquium (Feb. 7-8, 2014)
  • Invited panelist, GMU/Fenwick & West Roundtable on Patent-Eligible Subject Matter (Jan. 31, 2014)
  • “The Growing Public Domain in Medicine,” Whittier Law School Global Medicine Challenge Symposium (Nov. 8, 2013)
  • Discussant: Valentine Millot, “Are Trademarks and Patents Complementary or Substitute Protections for Innovation?,” USPTO Workshop on Empirical Studies of Trademark Data (Sept. 26-27, 2013)
  • “Expired Patents,” 13th IP Scholars Conference (Aug. 8-9, 2013)
  • “The Value of Certainty in Patent Rights,” Works-in-Progress IP Conference (Feb. 22-23, 2013)
  • “Reconceiving the Patent Rocket Docket,” 12th IP Scholars Conference (Aug. 9-10, 2012)
  • “Strategic Management of IP Assets: Policy Lessons,” address to the IPEX Conference on Monetizing and Managing IP Assets for Business Excellence, Hyderabad, India (July 27-28, 2012)
  • “Reconceiving the Patent Rocket Docket,” PatCon 2: The Patent Conference (May 11-12, 2012)
  • Discussant: Barak D. Richman, “The Provider-Monopoly Problem in Health Care,” DOJ/FTC/PTO Seminar Series (April 26, 2012)
  • “Rocket Dockets in Patent Litigation,” William & Mary Law School (Feb. 9, 2012)


  • Intellectual property
  • Patent law
  • Civil procedure
  • Administrative law
  • Law and economics


  • Patent Law

Academic Experience

  • Associate Professor of Law
    Texas A&M University School of Law (2015-present)
  • Research Scholar
    Duke Law Center for Innovation Policy (2015-present)
  • Thomas Edison Innovation Fellow
    George Mason University School of Law (2015-present)
  • Faculty Fellow and Postdoctoral Associate
    Duke University School of Law (2014-2015)
    Duke Center for Public Genomics (2014-2015)
  • Adjunct Professor of Intellectual Property Law
    Northern Virginia Community College (2011-2013)


  • LL.M., Intellectual Property, University of New Hampshire School of Law
  • J.D., University of New Hampshire School of Law (formerly Franklin Pierce Law Center)
    • University of New Hampshire Law Review, Associate Editor
    • Giles S. Rich Moot Court, Southern Region, Best Advocate
  • B.S. Chemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology

Other Professional Activities


  • 12th Works-in-Progress Intellectual Property Colloquium, Co-Lead Organizer with the GW Law School and the Kauffman Foundation (2013-2015)
  • United States Economic Development Administration, Interagency Review Panelist, i6 Green Challenge Initiative (2011)
  • Supreme Court of New Hampshire, IT Consultant to the Attorney Discipline Office (2008–2010)


  • Brief of Professor Saurabh Vishnubhakat as Amicus Curiae in Support of Respondent, Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc., No. 13-896 (Sup. Ct., Feb. 26, 2015)
  • Brief of Amicus Curiae Franklin Pierce Law Center on En Banc Rehearing in Support of the USPTO, Hyatt v. Kappos, No. 2007-1066 (Fed. Cir., May 24, 2010) (with Pierce Law IP Amicus Brief Clinic)