Peter Menell

  • Koret Professor of Law
    Co-Director, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology
  • Tel: 510-642-5489 | Fax: 510-643-2673
  • 686 Simon Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720 MC:7200
  • Faculty Support Contact: Tyler Slay

After earning his J.D. and Ph.D. in economics, Peter Menell clerked for Judge Jon O. Newman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. He joined the Berkeley Law faculty in 1990 and soon began laying the groundwork for the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology (BCLT), which he co-founded in 1995.  Professor Menell served as BCLT’s Executive Director from 1999 to 2005 and continues to serve as a Director.

Professor Menell has taught at Georgetown University Law Center, Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), and Tel Aviv University.

Professor Menell served as Vice-Chair of the National Academies of Sciences project on copyright and innovation.  In 2013, he delivered the 42nd Brace Lecture, the U.S. Copyright Society’s major annual lecture. In 2012-13, he served as an inaugural Thomas Alva Edison Visiting Professional at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.  In 2018, the California Lawyers Association recognized Professor Menell’s contributions to the intellectual property field with its IP Vanguard Award.

Professor Menell’s research and teaching span intellectual property across the digital technology and entertainment fields, as well as environmental law and policy, property law, and law and economics. His current teaching focuses on intellectual property law, legal protection for digital technology, technological disruption and social justice, and intellectual property protection in the entertainment industries.

Professor Menell founded the Annual Review of Law and Technology, published by the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, in 1997.  He supervised this special BTLJ issue for its first 21 years, advising over 500 published student articles on law and technology. He also founded the Annual Review of Environmental and Natural Resources Law, published by the Ecology Law Quarterly, in 1998, and supervised the first four issues.

Professor Menell has authored more than 100 articles and 15 books, including leading casebooks, intellectual property treatises, and research handbooks.  He has also made substantial contributions to NIMMER ON COPYRIGHT.

Professor Menell’s monograph-length Brace Lecture, This American Copyright Life: Reflections on Re-equilibrating Copyright for the Internet Age, is published in the Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A., Vol. 61, pp. 235-371 (2014).  The Harvard Journal of Law & Technology featured Professor Menell’s monograph, Rise of the API Copyright Dead?: An Updated Epitaph for Copyright Protection of Network and Functional Features of Computer Software, Vol. 31, pp. 305-490, in its Spring 2018 Special Issue on software interface copyright. Professor Menell’s article, Design Patent Law’s Identity Crisis, co-authored with Ella Corren, served as the lead paper for the BCLT/Berkeley Technology Law Journal Symposium on The Design Patent Muddle in February 2021.

Professor Menell has organized more than 60 intellectual property education programs for the Federal Judicial Center, including an annual multi-day program on “Intellectual Property in the Digital Age” since 1998.  He is the lead author of the Patent Case Management Judicial Guide, a 1200 page treatise now in its third edition, published by the Federal Judicial Center for federal judges. Professor Menell has advised the U.S. Congress, federal agencies, state Attorneys General, and major technology and entertainment companies on a wide range of intellectual property and antitrust matters. Congress adopted Professor Menell’s proposal to immunize whistleblowers from trade secret liability in the Defend Trade Secret Act of 2016, 18 U.S.C. § 1833. See Peter S. Menell, Tailoring a Public Policy Exception to Trade Secret Protection, 105 California Law Review 1 (2017); Peter S. Menell, The Defend Trade Secrets Act Whistleblower Immunity Provision: A Legislative History, 1 Univ. Missouri Business, Entrepreneurship & Tax Review 397 (2017).  Professor Menell has authored numerous amicus briefs on intellectual property issues. Professor Menell is a Member of the American Law Institute and serves as an Adviser to the Copyright Restatement Project.  

Throughout his career, Professor Menell has spearheaded efforts to address important public policy challenges through consensus-building projects. Most recently, he confronted controversies over patent eligibility and patent damages. See Final Report of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology Section 101 Workshop: Addressing Patent Eligibility Challenges, Berkeley Technology Law Journal (forthcoming 2018) (with Jeffrey A. Lefstin and David O. Taylor); Final Report of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology Patent Damages Workshop, 25 Texas Intellectual Property Law Journal 115 (2017) (with Stuart Graham, Carl Shapiro, and Timothy Simcoe).

In 2018, Professor Menell co-founded the Berkeley Judicial Institute (BJI) with former FJC Director and Judge Jeremy Fogel and Dean Erwin Chemerinsky. BJI fills a long-standing need to establish an effective bridge between the legal academy and the judiciary for the primary purpose of promoting judicial integrity and judicial independence. Professor Menell’s article, Revisiting and Confronting the Federal Judiciary Capacity “Crisis”: Charting a Path for Federal Judiciary Reform, co-authored with Professor Ryan Vacca, framed BJI’s inaugural  Symposium.

In 2016, Professor Menell founded Clause 8 Publishing to promote creation and dissemination of the highest quality and most up-to-date educational resources at fair prices.  In its first five years, Clause 8 has saved law students approximately $5 million (80-90% reduction depending on the format) compared to years when these books were published by a traditional publisher.  

Many of Professor Menell’s publications can be accessed



S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1980)
M.A., Stanford University (1982)
J.D., Harvard Law School (1986)
Ph.D., Stanford University (1986)