For the January 2018 monthly spotlight, we are pleased to announce our EIP spotlight will feature Lateef Mtima. Lateef is currently a Professor of Law at Howard University School of Law. He graduated with honors from Amherst College in 1982, and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1985. There, he was the Cofounder and Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Black LetterLaw Journal, now called the Harvard Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice.

A Past President of the Giles S. Rich Inn of Court, Lateef also serves as a member of the ALI-ABA CPE Advisory Board of Directors on Intellectual Property, The Practical Lawyer Editorial Board, and the Advisory Board for the BNA Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Journal. Admitted to both the New York and Pennsylvania bars, he has practiced intellectual property, bankruptcy, and commercial law, and is currently a member of the Advisory Council for the United States Court of Federal Claims. He is also a member of the founding Editorial Board for the American Bar Association intellectual property periodical Landslide.

On top of these outstanding accomplishments, Professor Mtima is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice (“IIPSJ”), an accredited Non-governmental Organization Member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Lateef disagreed with the formerly prevailing view that intellectual property related social deficiencies (including the misappropriation of historically marginalized community and developing world IP-output and inequitable access to medicines & knowledge) were strictly problems of social welfare. He founded IIPSJ to explore how IP law and policy could be interpreted and applied as mechanisms for socio-economic and political inclusion, equality, and empowerment.

With more than a decade of pioneering achievement in the intellectual property and social justice field, IIPSJ’s work continues to evolve and expand. Notable projects include the development of the IIPSJ Think Tank, which is the first and only think tank dedicated to examining the social justice implications of IP law, policy, and practice. Another noteworthy contribution to the IP community is the IP Social Justice Continuing Legal Education Program, co-founded with Tom Irving, a partner at international IP firm Finnegan, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP. This program exposes practicing attorneys to IP social justice issues and solutions, bringing in experts from the bench and bar. IIPSJ has also disseminated position statements on important IP policy questions such as the Google Books Project and the copyright “Orphan Works” problem, as well as on governmental actions and legislative proposals to shape contemporary IP policy, such as SOPA and PIPA.

Thank you, Lateef Mtima, for all of your contributions to the intellectual property field and for continuing to address crucial social justice and public interest issues. EverydayIP salutes you.