Cynthia Dahl, an accomplished intellectual property lawyer and leader with experience as both corporate counsel and law firm litigator, is the inaugural Director of the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s new Detkin Intellectual Property and Technology Clinic.
Dahl, who began practicing intellectual property law in New York after graduating from Stanford Law School, joins the Penn Law faculty as a Practice Associate Professor and head of the clinic.
“The Detkin Clinic will set a new standard for legal education in IP and technology,” said Penn Law Dean Michael A. Fitts. “Partnering with other schools and departments across Penn, it’s designed to provide students with hands-on, practical experience in an area of law crucial for translating technological innovation into economic growth. We’re delighted to have someone of Cynthia’s caliber and leadership ability heading this initiative.”
“We are pleased to welcome Cynthia to the Law School,” said Tom Baker, Deputy Dean and William Maul Measey Professor of Law and Health Sciences, who chaired the search committee. “She brings a wealth of practical experience in patent law, both as a corporate counsel and law firm associate. The search committee was particularly impressed with her leadership roles and her innovative vision and goals for the new clinic.”
Those goals include introducing students to the many different ways they can build careers in IP and the many different clients they can serve. “First and foremost I want to design a course that will feed students’ excitement about practicing IP law,” Dahl said. “Through simulations, drafting workshops and casework with varied clients, I want to offer an engaging experience for the students that will give them tools to start their practice with confidence.”
Creation of the new clinic was made possible by a generous gift from Peter Detkin EE’82, L’85, a noted IP entrepreneur and founder and vice chairman of Intellectual Ventures, an invention investment firm, who currently serves on the Board of Overseers for Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science.
The Detkin IP Clinic will work closely with Penn’s Center for Technology Transfer, which is dedicated to moving research and technologies developed at Penn to the marketplace. The clinic will also collaborate extensively with Penn’s Schools of Engineering, Medicine, the Wharton business school, and other departments and programs involved in patenting and licensing processes and related research.
This cross-disciplinary approach, a hallmark of Penn Law’s educational philosophy, is designed “to provide students with an integrated understanding of the technological, legal and business pathways that comprise the commercialization of innovation,” Dean Fitts said.
Dahl comes to Penn Law with broad experience in every aspect of intellectual property and technology law and its business applications. After graduating from law school in 1998, she went to work as an intellectual property litigation associate for law firms in New York and Denver, CO.
In 2001, Dahl became a corporate counsel at TruePosition, Inc., a technology-driven international wireless location company based in Berwyn, PA, where she implemented company- wide IP policies and incentive programs that helped the firm’s patent portfolio grow from 20 to more than 125 patents worldwide. She was promoted to senior counsel of the 400-employee firm in 2005 and won company leadership awards in 2007 and 2010.
The Detkin Clinic’s work will closely integrate with Penn Law’s curriculum in law and technology and build upon the strengths of its research programs, including the Law School’s Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition. Projects from the Clinic are expected to be used as case studies in non-clinical courses.
“I love the idea of creating a new experience at Penn Law that will support and complement the already cutting edge IP program,” Dahl said. “Penn Law has a very strong and forward-thinking IP faculty, and I am honored to join them.”