Shontavia Johnson

Professor of Intellectual Property Law, Drake University

Shontavia Johnson joined the Drake University Law School faculty in 2010 and was named the Kern Family Chair in Intellectual Property Law and Director of the Intellectual Property Law Center in 2016. She teaches Introduction to Intellectual Property, Trademark and Unfair Competition Law, Internet Law, Entertainment Law, and Property Law. She was recently placed on the prestigious Fulbright Specialist roster and was named a 2016 A. Leon Higginbotham Fellow by the American Arbitration Association.

Shontavia’s research focuses on intellectual property law, entrepreneurship, and innovation, and includes such topics as the protectability and reach of unregistered trademarks used on the Internet, the impact of the America Invents Act on startups and entrepreneurs, the role of the Thirteenth Amendment when permanent tattoos embody commercial trademarks, and viral meme trademarks. Her publications have appeared in the Berkeley Technology Law Review, the Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review, the John Marshall Review of Intellectual Property Law, and the Arkansas Law Review. Shontavia has taught intellectual property law to students in the U.S. and abroad and served as a consultant to both startups and large corporations.

In 2014, Shontavia’s article, Trademark Territoriality in Cyberspace: An Internet Framework for Common Law Trademarks, was awarded the International Trademark Association Ladas Memorial Award, a competition that identifies the best article in the world on a trademark law topic. That same year, her article, Memetic Theory, Trademarks & the Viral Meme Mark, won third place in the competition. Shontavia has received the Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys Gertrude Rush Award, the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics Outstanding Alumnus Award, and the Jackie Robinson Foundation 42 Under 40 Alumni Award. In 2013, Shontavia was also named one of 40 Lawyers Under 40 by the National Bar Association and IMPACT.

Shontavia is also the founder and managing attorney of Jackson Johnson LLC, a boutique law firm serving entrepreneurs and entertainers. She frequently counsels clients in all areas of intellectual property law and consults with clients on entrepreneurial growth and development. She is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office and a licensed mediator and arbitrator.

Shontavia received a B.S. in Biosystems Engineering from Clemson University, where she was a Palmetto Fellows Scholar, Coca-Cola Clemson Scholar, and a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar. She received her J.D. from the University of Arkansas School of Law, where she was associate editor of the Arkansas Law Review and a member of the National Criminal Procedure Moot Court team. While in law school, she was named a Vincent W. Foster Scholar, Jim G. Ferguson Scholar, and Harold Flowers Law Society Scholar, and she also served as a judicial extern to Judge Jimm Larry Hendren of the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. Shontavia also studied international law and comparative constitutional law at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa.


  • –present
    Associate Professor of Intellectual Property Law, Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute


  • 2006 
    University of Arkansas School of Law, J.D.


Fulbright Specialist Candidate; AAA A. Leon Higginbotham Fellow; Ladas Memorial Award Winner