Patent and Intellectual Property Expert David Schwartz Joins Northwestern Law Faculty

July 21, 2015

With an engineering background and 10 years of experience practicing patent law, David Schwartz returned to academia to conduct the kind of empirical research he found so valuable in his practice.

Professor David Schwartz
David Schwartz

“There are so many interesting issues in patent law,” he said. “Empirical studies relating to patent litigation are of importance right now to policymakers, and they’re also useful and important to practitioners.”

Schwartz’s current research focuses on comparing “patent trolls” or patent assertion entities— “companies that don’t make any products and intend to make money from asserting their patent portfolio”—to companies that own patents and do make products.

“I’m trying to understand in a little bit more nuanced manner how they’re different and how they’re similar, why they’re different and why they’re similar,” he explained. Some charge that patent assertion entities mainly bring frivolous charges of infringement, seek nuisance fee settlements, and settle the cases quickly to avoid adjudication of their claims on the merits. However, the empirical evidence on this critical charge is lacking and needs further study.

Schwartz is a co-editor of Volume II of the Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law, which surveys analytical methods for understanding and testing hypotheses about the economic and related effects of intellectual property law. He will be hosting a conference for the handbook next month. The conference will bring together over 30 legal and economics scholars from across the globe.

Schwartz taught at Northwestern Law as a visiting professor in 2014, and is looking forward to reengaging with the faculty and students. He will teach Intellectual Property in the spring semester.

 “I’m interested in being part of a vibrant scholarly community of other academics as well as being among great, smart, interesting students. I taught here as a visitor a year ago and the students are just fantastic—that’s what I think I’m most excited about.”

Prior to joining Northwestern Law, Schwartz served on the faculty at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, where he was a co-director of the Center for Empirical Studies of Intellectual Property. He also taught at John Marshall Law School, and worked at several Chicago law firms prior to teaching, beginning his career at Jenner & Block.