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School of Law

Professor Duncan Matthews, BSc (Hons), MA (Warwick), LLM (Exeter), PhD (London)


Professor of Intellectual Property Law

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8074
Room Number: Lincoln's Inn Fields


Duncan Matthews holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He is Director of the Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute (QMIPRI), a member of the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS), a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Munich, and an Honorary Member of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA).

He has acted as an advisor to the European Patent Office (EPO), the European Commission, the European Parliament, the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). He is asked regularly to provide consultancy advice on patent matters both in the UK and abroad.

He has been a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University, (Canberra, ACT) and the University of Verona (Italy), and teaches as an international expert on the WIPO LLM Programme at the Jagiellonian University (Krakow, Poland) and on the WIPO Summer Schools at Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic) and Huazhong University of Science & Technology (Wuhan, People’s Republic of China). He has also taught at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy), Humboldt University of Berlin and the University of Freiburg (both Germany), Renmin University of China, the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, and Zhongnan University of Economics and Law (all People’s Republic of China). He has delivered public lectures in person at the University of Oxford (United Kingdom), São Paulo University (Brazil), the University of the West Indies (Mona Campus, Jamaica), and Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University (France).

He is the author of Globalising Intellectual Property Rights: The TRIPS Agreement (Routledge, 2002), Intellectual Property, Human Rights and Development (Edward Elgar, 2011), and is co-editor the Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and the Life Sciences (Edward Elgar, 2017) and European Patent Law: The Unified Patent Court and the European Patent Convention (De Gruyter, 2023).

He teaches European and international patent law to postgraduate law students, and is an expert on the Unified Patent Court (UPC), the patent provisions of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and intellectual property and the life sciences.

He is interviewed regularly by international media outlets including the Financial Times, The Wire, Fortune, Pharma Technology Focus and Aljazeera.


Duncan Matthews is currently the Principal Investigator and award holder of British Academy research grants on Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic for IP Licensing Practices in Vaccine Production in collaboration with co-researchers Professor Ken Shadlen (Department of International Development, London School of Economics and Political Science), Dr. Żaneta Zemła-Pacud (Institute of Law Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences), Professor Esther van Zimmeren (Faculty of Law and GOVTRUST Centre of Excellence, University of Antwerp) and Professor Timo Minssen (Centre for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation Law, CeBIL, University of Copenhagen), and The patent governance of agricultural genome editing in the United Kingdom, the European Union and Ukraine: implications for global food security and sustainability in collaboration with Dr Hanna Ostapenko (Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv).

Recently he has been leading an international team of researchers investigating the role of patents and licences for the governance of human genome editing with Professor Abbe Brown (University of Aberdeen), Dr Emanuela Gambini (Queen Mary University of London), Professor Timo Minssen (University of Copenhagen), Dr Ana Nordberg (Lund University), Professor Jacob S. Sherkow (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Dr Jakob Wested (University of Copenhagen), Professor Esther van Zimmeren (University of Antwerp) and Dr Aisling McMahon (National University of Ireland, Maynooth). The research team provided expertise to the WHO International Advisory Committee on the Governance of Human Genome Editing and was acknowledged in the WHO Expert Advisory Committees’ final reports in July 2021. The published response to the WHO Expert Advisory Committee’s final reports made by the research team lead by Professor Matthews is available on SSRN.


Other Selected Publications


Doctoral Research Student Supervision

Duncan Matthews has supervised the following doctoral research students:

  • Alex Magaisa - Knowledge Protection in Indigenous Communities - The case of indigenous medical knowledge systems in Zimbabwe (completed 2005).
  • Mukhamad-Ali Kurmanbayev - An Analysis of the Development of Copyright Law and Practices in Kazakhstan (completed 2006).
  • Muriel Lightbourne - The FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture: Towards Food Security, Conservation, Equity? (completed 2007, Herchel Smith scholarship).
  • Fazeel Najeeb – IP-Related Technical Assistance: Lessons for developing countries (completed March 2011; Commonwealth scholarship).
  • Jerry Hsiao – Patent Protection for Chinese Traditional Medicines in Taiwan (completed November 2009).
  • Claudio Chiarolla – Development Perspectives on the FAO International Treaty’s Multilateral System (completed December 2009; Herchel Smith scholarship).
  • Rong He – An Empirical Study on the Interaction between Patent, Innovation and Public Health: case of China (completed September 2012; Wellcome Trust scholarship).
  • Burcu Kilic – Boosting Pharmaceutical Innovation in the Post-TRIPS era: The Real LIfe Lessons for the Developing World (completed January 2011; Queen Mary School of Law scholarship).
  • Tenu Avafia – Public Health Related TRIPS Flexibilities and South-South Co-operation as Enablers of Treatment Access in Eastern and Southern Africa: Perspectives from Producing and Importing Countries (completed March 2015).
  • Celucolo Peter Dludlu - Comparative study of substantive patentability standards in the UK and South Africa (completed March 2014; Herchel Smith scholarship).
  • Vivian Mak – Analysis of DNA Patenting and its Impact on Developing Nations (completed November 2014; Queen Mary School of Law scholarship).
  • Marta Diaz Pozo - The Role of the Requirement of Industrial Application in Gene Patenting: Practical Implications and Potential Impact on the Progress of Innovation (completed May 2015; Herchel Smith scholarship).
  • Mauricio Guaragna - Stimulating Innovation in Brazil: A Study of Intellectual Property Law, Biotechnology and Open Scientific Innovation (completed December 2016).
  • Emanuela Gambini: Imagined Nature. Intellectual Property of Biotech Inventions (completed August 2018, Herchel Smith scholarship).
  • Olga Gurgula - Strategic Patenting in the Pharmaceutical Industry: Analysing the Boundaries of Legality from a Competition Law Perspective (completed December 2018; Herchel Smith scholarship).
  • Michaela Halpern - Arbitrating Standard Essential Patent Licensing Disputes (completed July 2021; Herchel Smith scholarship).
  • Maciej Padamczyk - Determining the adequate degree of legal protection for emerging biotechnologies: Developing new eligibility criteria and morality-based exclusions for patent protection of emerging biotechnologies (commenced September 2021, Herchel Smith scholarship).
  • Barasha Bortakur - Green Intellectual Property and TRIPS Flexibilities: Climate Mitigation Technologies as ‘Public Good’ and Climate Change as ‘National Emergency’ commenced September 2020, Herchel Smith scholarship).
  • Gertrud Metsa - Balancing the outcomes by applying economic decision-making theories: a study on divisional practice (commenced September 2022, Herchel Smith scholarship).
  • Luisa Fernanda Herrera Sierra - Contract Law: Solutions to the Problems of Patent Misuse. Novel Mechanisms to Enhance Technological Transfer and Innovation (commenced September 2022).

Public Engagement

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