Menu Close
William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor and Professor of Law, Boston University

Professor Wendy J. Gordon has taught at Boston University School of Law since 1993, and was recently named to one of ithe University's ten William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professorships. An advisor to BU's Intellectual Property Concentration, she also tremendously enjoys interdisciplinary dialogue. Her scholarship utilizes economics as well as both ethical and analytic philosophy to understand copyright, trademark, and related forms of property and tort law. Although based in BU’s School of Law, she has developed and co-taught courses with philosopher Aaron Garrett, Shakespearean actor Jonathan Epstein, and literary critic Sir Christopher Ricks. She is increasingly turning to art (fiction, opera, poetry, and narrative nonfiction) as an additional source of insight.

Wendy’s current scholarly project focuses on computer programs and design law. This area requires addressing how copyright, trademark, patent and the public domain intersect when distinctive or authorial works have practical functions.

Her ultimate goal is to recommend reforms for copyright law from varying perspectives, including ethics, economics, and internal consistency.

Wendy has served as a Fulbright scholar, was elected by Oxford’s St. John’s College to a Visiting Senior Research Fellowship, and was selected as a resident at the Rockefeller Foundation retreat in Bellagio. She has also been the Bacon-Kilkenny Distinguished Visitor at Fordham, a Visiting Fellow at Oxford’s Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy, and the “Intellectual Property Distinguished Visitor” at the Lewis and Clark Law School; she has received grants including a New Jersey Governor's Fellowship in the Humanities. Now a William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor, the highest rank achievable for Boston University faculty, Wendy has held the Philip Beck Chair and other endowed posts, and has twice served as the Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Intellectual Property. The United States Supreme Court has three times cited her scholarship .

Her articles, often anthologized and translated, have also been cited by courts in nations outside the US. Her publications include “Fair Use as Market Failure” (Columbia Law Review), “A Property Right in Self-Expression” (Yale Law Journal; also published in Chinese), “An Inquiry into the Merits of Copyright” (Stanford Law Review), the chapter on Intellectual Property in The Oxford Handbook on Legal Studies (chapter also published in Japanese), “On Owning Information” (Virginia Law Review), “Render Copyright Unto Caesar: On Taking Incentives Seriously” (University of Chicago Law Review; also translated into Croatian).

In addition to Boston University, Wendy has taught in various capacities at the law schools of the University of Chicago, Fordham University, Georgetown University, University of Michigan, NYU, Oxford (U.K.), Rutgers University/Newark, University of Toronto, Western New England College, the University of Victoria (British Columbia), and Yale Law School. In 2002, she received the RA Cass Award for Commitment to Teaching from the Fund for Teaching Excellence.


  • –present
    William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor Professor of Law, Boston University