The Catholic University of America

Full-time Faculty

Susanna Frederick Fischer 

IP Courses: Copyright Law, Art Law

Susanna Frederick Fischer received her legal education at Merton College, University of Oxford, where she received a B.A. in Jurisprudence, and the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was awarded the LL.M. degree.  She also earned an A.B. degree (History), magna cum laude, from Princeton University.  She has practiced media law and intellectual property law on both sides of the Atlantic.  She practiced as a barrister in the (then) Chambers of Patrick Milmo QC, 5 Raymond Buildings, Gray's Inn, London.  In London, she also worked as a lawyer for the publishers of several national newspapers, including The Times, the Sunday Times, The Sun, and Today.  She also worked as an attorney in two New York City law firms (Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, and Paul, Hastings, Janofsky and Walker LLP).  Fischer currently teaches Art Law, Copyright Law, and Constitutional Law.  She has taught courses on intellectual property law at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland and the University of Lisbon, Portugal.  She has published articles and book chapters on a variety of copyright, cyberlaw, and constitutional law topics.  Much of her scholarship employs a comparative perspective.  Her work also focuses on the application of Catholic social thought to problems in intellectual property law.

IP Courses: Patent Law, Trademarks & Unfair Competition

Elizabeth Winston earned her S.B. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her J.D. from the University of Virginia.  After law school, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Paul R. Michel on the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and to the Honorable James T. Turner on the United States Court of Federal Claims.  Her publications include "The Flawed Nature of the False Marking Statute," 77 Tennessee Law Review 111 (2009), selected for republication in the Int'l Prop. L. Rev. (Thomson West Group, 2010) as one of the best intellectual property law review articles published in 2009; "What If Seeds Were Not Patentable?," 2008 Michigan State Law Review 321 (2008); and "Why Sell What You Can License?: Contracting Around Statutory Protection of Intellectual Property," 14 George Mason Law Review 93 (2006).  Winston teaches Patent Law, Contracts, and Trademarks and Unfair Competition.

Megan M. La Belle

IP Courses: Introduction to Intellectual Property, Advanced Patent Law Seminar

Megan La Belle earned her B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her J.D. from the University of California, Davis, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif.  After law school, La Belle served as a law clerk to the Honorable Stephen S. Trott on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and to the Honorable Margaret M. Morrow on the United States District Court for the Central District of California.  Before joining the faculty, Professor La Belle spent several years as a commercial litigator with the Los Angeles law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson where her practice focused on intellectual property and other complex civil litigation matters.  Her publications include "Against Settlement of (Some) Patent Cases," 67 Vanderbilt L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2014); "Patent Law as Public Law," 20 George Mason L. Rev. 41 (2012); "Standing to Sue in the Myriad Genetics case," 2 Cal. L. Rev. Circuit 68 (2011); and "Patent Litigation, Personal Jurisdiction, and the Public Good," 18 George Mason L. Rev. 43 (2010).  Professor La Belle teaches and researches in the areas of intellectual property and procedure. 

Part-time Faculty

Judge Edward J. Damich, Distinguished Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law

Education: Columbia University, J.S.D., LL.M; Catholic University of America, J.D.; St. Stephen's College, A.B.

Judge Damich was appointed to the United States Court of Federal Claims on October 22, 1998, by President William J. Clinton. He served as Chief Judge from 2002 - 2009. From 1995-1998 Judge Damich served as Chief Intellectual Property Counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee. During his tenure on the Committee, he assisted the Chairman, Senator Orrin Hatch, with the passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the most significant change in copyright law since the Copyright Act of 1976. The DMCA updated U.S. law for the digital age and for the Internet. In addition, he worked on the Omnibus Patent Act, the basis for the 1999 American Inventors Protection Act. He was also a member of the U.S. delegation at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) diplomatic conference, which concluded the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.  Judge Damich is the author of numerous articles, mostly on copyright law, but also on jurisprudence, land use planning, and criminal law. His copyright law articles have been cited in three federal district court opinions, most notably in Wojnarowicz v. American Family Assn. (745 F. Supp. 130 (S.D.N.Y. 1990)), in which the court adopted his interpretation of a New York statute. His articles are cited in all the major casebooks in copyright law and in the leading treatise, Nimmer on Copyright.  He has testified before congressional committees on five occasions on copyright issues.

Judge Damich teaches Advanced Issues in Copyright and Trademark Law.

Thomas A. Blinka

Education:  Catholic University of America, J.D.; University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ph.D; Cornell University, B.A.

Dr. Blinka is a partner in the Patent Counseling and Prosecution practice group of Cooley LLP.  Dr. Blinka specializes in patent procurement and counseling in a broad range of chemical technologies including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, organic, inorganic and polymeric materials, organic synthesis, catalysts, composite and nano-composite materials, membrane materials and membrane-based separations, chemical sensors, electro-optical materials, glasses, metal alloys, semiconductors and semiconductor fabrication processes.  Dr. Blinka also has experience in drafting and prosecuting patent applications, business-focused opinions, due diligence and strategic patent portfolio management.  Prior to joining the Firm, Dr. Blinka served as Senior Counsel in the Patent Department of Schering-Plough Corporation and as an Associate and Patent Agent in the chemical group of Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier and Neustadt, PC.  Dr. Blinka holds 21 U.S. patents from over 13 years of industrial research experience at W.R. Grace's Washington Research Center.

Dr. Blinka teaches Patent Prosecution

Judge Joseph V. Colaianni

Education: George Washington University, J.D., with honors; University of Detroit, B.S.E.E., with honors

Judge Colaianni is a partner at Patton Boggs LLP where he assists clients in a broad range of intellectual property litigation including patents, trademarks, copyrights, licensing, trade secrets and antitrust. His litigation experience often involves mechanical, electro-mechanical, electronics and chemical technology. Judge Colaianni has appeared as lead trial counsel before federal district courts and federal appellate courts throughout the United States. In addition, Judge Colaianni has applied for, and prosecuted, patent and trademark applications in the United States Patent Office and throughout the world.  Judge Colaianni was appointed to the United States Court of Federal Claims in 1970 and remained until 1984.  While on the Court, his docket included several hundred patent claims.

Judge Colaianni teaches Intellectual Property Transactions.  

Scott A. Chambers

Education: Florida State University, Ph.D; George Washington University, J.D.; Ohio State University, B.S.

Dr. Chambers is a partner at Patton Boggs LLP and Chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property Department.  Dr. Chambers practices in the area of intellectual property, focusing on biotechnology, life sciences and the Hatch-Waxman Act. In addition to advising clients in patent infringement and validity issues, he provides oversight for companies on mergers and acquisitions, trade secret and antitrust litigation.  Previously, Dr. Chambers served as an associate solicitor for the USPTO, where he defended the USPTO’s patentability determinations and statutory interpretation before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and district court.  He also served as a law clerk to Judge Randall R. Rader, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, from 1993 to 1994.

Dr. Chambers teaches International Intellectual Property.

Robert M. Fuhrer

Education: George Washington University, LL.M; Capital University, J.D., DeVry Institute of Technology, B.S.

Mr. Fuhrer is a Senior Associate at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP specializing in federal patent litigation and related matters involving issues of copyright, trademark, false advertising, and unfair competition.  Mr. Fuhrer also has significant experience in arbitration proceedings and hearings before the International Trade Commission and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection regarding importation exclusion orders.  Prior to joining Pillsbury, Mr. Fuhrer was an attorney and officer with the United States Marine Corps.  In his capacity as a judge advocate, Mr. Fuhrer served as a federal trial lawyer, a professor at the Naval Justice School, and as an appellate counsel representing the United States before military appellate course and the United States Supreme Court.

Mr. Fuhrer teaches Patent Enforcement.

Charles H. Kennedy

Education: University of Chicago, J.D.; Florida State University, B.A.

Mr. Kennedy is a partner at Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP where he p in a broad range of communications law, privacy law, and related issues, including compliance with FCC and Federal Trade Commission regulations, and privacy and data protection statutes.  Mr. Kennedy has advised some of the world’s most prominent media companies, financial institutions and technology companies on compliance with surveillance laws, telemarketing and email advertising requirements, children’s privacy, data security and other privacy-related issues.  He also represents clients in regulatory proceedings, including rulemakings and investigations.  Mr. Kennedy is the author or co-author of several books on the law of electronic communications and privacy, including: An Introduction to U.S. Telecommunications Law (1994, 2nd ed. 2001); An Introduction to International Telecommunications Law (1996); Modern Communications Law (1999); and The Business Privacy Law Handbook (2008).

Mr. Kennedy teaches Cyberlaw.

Matthew J. Laskoski

Education: George Mason University, J.D.; Carnegie Mellon University, B.S.

Mr. Laskoski is an associate at Patton Boggs LLP where his practice focuses on the patent and trademark acquisition process.  He regularly prepares and prosecutes patent applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as well as abroad, in a wide range of technologies and disciplines, including mechanical devices, software, information technology, business methods, chemical processes, biotechnology, and electrical devices.  Mr. Laskoski also has experience preparing and prosecuting trademark applications before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, and internationally.

Mr. Laskoski teaches International Intellectual Property.

Bonnie Weiss McLeod

Education:  Catholic University of America, J.D.; University of Maryland, College Park, Ph.D; University of Maryland, College Park, B.S.

Dr. McLeod is a Partner in the Intellectual Property Practice Group at Cooley LLP.  Dr. McLeod has in-depth experience serving the life science industry in the preparation and prosecution of biotechnology and pharmaceutical patent applications, the preparation of requests for reexamination, and opinions involving noninfringement, invalidity and freedom to operate.  Dr. McLeod is a former patent examiner in the biotechnology group of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  Dr. McLeod is a frequent speaker at universities and local life science organizations and has spoken on topics including developing a global patent strategy, the business side of intellectual property, joint inventorship issues and developing a patent portfolio that will attract investors.

Dr. McLeod teaches Patent Prosecution.

Scott J. Pivnick

Education: George Washington University, J.D.; University of Connecticut, B.A.

Mr. Pivnick is a partner at Alston & Bird LLP whose practice concentrates on patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret litigation, domain name disputes, electronic commerce and client counseling. Mr. Pivnick has litigated a broad range of intellectual property disputes, especially in the federal courts for the Eastern District of Texas, the Eastern District of Virginia, and the D.C. District as well as the U.S. International Trade Commission.  Prior to private practice, Mr. Pivnick was a trial/appellate Mr. Pivnick was a trial/appellate attorney for the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Pivnick also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Eric G. Bruggink of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Mr. Pivnick teaches Patent Enforcement.

Paul L. Ratcliffe

Education:  Catholic University of America, J.D.; Catholic University of America, M.S.; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, B.S.

Mr. Ratcliffe is a registered patent attorney and has experience in all facets of intellectual property management.  He is a partner with Attentive Law Group, PLLC, and has led profitable intellectual property licensing and enforcement campaigns, portfolio analysis activities, licensing agreement negotiations and all aspects of product and technology clearance and protection.  Mr. Ratcliffe was in-house patent counsel for Black & Decker in charge of their Outdoor, Home Products and New Business divisions, and he practiced law at Dickstein Shapiro and Greenberg Traurig.  Prior to law school, Mr. Ratcliffe was a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  Mr. Ratcliffe is also an inventor with several pending patents and won a national award for his engineering designs.

Mr. Ratcliffe teaches Intellectual Property Transactions.

Seth A. Watkins

Education: Duke University, J.D., Ph.D, M.S., B.S.E. 

Dr. Watkins is of counsel at Steptoe & Johnson LLP where he practices in the Intellectual Property group.  His areas of concentration include intellectual property litigation, prosecution, strategic counseling, due diligence, and agreement negotiation.  Dr. Watkins counsels clients in obtaining, protecting, licensing, and enforcing intellectual property, with a particular focus on patents.  He also has litigated a variety of intellectual property disputes at the district court and appellate levels and in the International Trade Commission.  In addition to teaching at Catholic, Dr. Watkins has served on the mechanical engineering faculty at Duke University. 

Dr. Watkins teaches Introduction to Intellectual Property, Patent Law, and Advanced Patent Law.