Thomas F. Cotter

Prof. Thomas F. Cotter

Briggs and Morgan Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School

Professor Thomas F. Cotter joined the University of Minnesota Law School faculty in 2006. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and in 1987 graduated magna cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he served as Senior Articles Editor of the Wisconsin Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif.

From 1987-89, Professor Cotter clerked for the Honorable Lawrence W. Pierce, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He practiced law at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York City from 1988-90, and at Jenner & Block in Chicago from 1990-94. From 1994-2005, he taught at the University of Florida College of Law, where he held a University of Florida Research Foundation Professorship and directed the school’s Intellectual Property Law Program. From 2005-06, he was a Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law. In 2007, he was named to a two-year Solly Robins Distinguished Research Fellowship at the University of Minnesota Law School, and in 2008 was named to the Briggs and Morgan Chair in Law.

Professor Cotter’s principal research and teaching interests are in the fields of domestic and international intellectual property law, antitrust, and law and economics. He is the author of six books—Patent Wars:  How Patents Impact Our Daily Lives (Oxford Univ. Press, 2018); Trademarks, Unfair Competition, and Business Torts (with Barton Beebe, Mark A. Lemley, Peter S. Menell, and Robert P. Merges) (Wolters Kluwer 2d ed., 2016; 1st ed., 2011); Law and Economics: Positive, Normative, and Behavioral Perspectives (with Jeffrey L. Harrison) (3d ed., Thomson West, 2013); Comparative Patent Remedies: A Legal and Economic Analysis (Oxford University Press, 2013); and Intellectual Property: Economic and Legal Dimensions of Rights and Remedies (with Roger D. Blair) (Cambridge University Press 2005). 

Altogether he has authored or coauthored over 60 other scholarly works, including articles in the California Law Review, the Georgetown Law Journal, the Iowa Law Review, the Minnesota Law Review, and the University of Illinois Law Review. He also publishes a blog,, on the law (both foreign and domestic) and economics of patent remedies. Most recently, the Innovators Network Foundation, in partnership with ACT|The App Association, appointed Professor Cotter to a one-year Intellectual Property Fellowship.


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