Deborah Gerhardt

Associate Professor and Founder of the Intellectual Property Clinic, UNC School of Law

Deborah R. Gerhardt is an associate professor at the UNC School of Law. She specializes in the intersection of law and creativity and has written leading articles in trademark and copyright law, art law, false advertising and plagiarism. With West Publishing, she recently co-authored its first bridge to practice contracts text. She received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation to support research to clarify whether art and historical documents are protected by copyright or exist in the public domain. In 2015, Gerhardt was invited to participate in the Chancellor’s Faculty Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, where she led her team to win the pitch competition. Also in 2015, she was selected by the Advertising Educational Foundation for a fellowship in its visiting professor program. She is the first person whom J. Walter Thompson, the world’s largest advertising agency, has sponsored for a fellowship.

Gerhardt teaches art law, copyright law, trademark law, contracts and a practical writing seminar on intellectual property strategies and transactions. She secured UNC-Chapel Hill a slot in the USPTO’s pilot clinical program and led the effort to launch Carolina’s Intellectual Property Clinic, where she teaches students practical skills while providing pro bono counsel to artists, musicians and small businesses. Gerhardt has coached Carolina’s trademark moot court team to a regional victory and a top 10 finish nationally. Prior to joining the faculty at Carolina, she clerked for the Honorable Judge John M. Manos in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and practiced at Jones Day Reavis & Pogue in Cleveland. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Duke University and her Juris Doctor cum laude from Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law.