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Our History: Former Faculty [Fall 2020 - this site is under construction as we update this list]: Sprigman, Christopher (2005-2013)

Tenured faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law through its history.

Sprigman, Christopher, 2005-2013

Sprigman, Christopher

Christopher Sprigman, who studied the effects of legal rules on technological innovation, served on the faculty of the University of Virginia from 2005 until 2013. He earned his B.A. in 1988 from the University of Pennsylvania and his J.D. in 1993 from the University of Chicago, where he was a comment editor for the University of Chicago Law Review. Following a clerkship with Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Sprigman relocated overseas to clerk for Justice Lourens H. W. Ackermann of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. After teaching comparative law at the Law School at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, Sprigman returned to the U.S. to serve as appellate counsel to the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice from 1999 until 2001, working on post-trial and appellate briefs in U.S. v. Microsoft. He then practiced in the Washington, D.C. office of King & Spalding LLP, focusing on antitrust, appellate practice, and intellectual property, and served as a Residential Fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School.

In 2005, Sprigman joined the faculty of the U.Va. School of Law, where he taught intellectual property law, antitrust law, competition policy, and comparative constitutional law. He served as the Class of 1963 Research Professor in Honor of Graham C. Lilly and Peter W. Low. As a scholar, Sprigman was recognized for his creativity, originality and highly astute problem-solving abilities. His research often challenged traditional conventions of intellectual property rights. His book The Knockoff Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation, co-authored with UCLA Law Professor Kal Raustiala, analyzed several industries and argued that copyrights and patents are not always necessary to stimulate creativity. He moved to the New York University School of Law in 2013.



The Knockoff Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation (with Kal Raustiala) (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Articles and Book Chapters

The 99¢ Question, 5 J. on Telecomm. & High Tech. L. 87-124 (2006).

The Piracy Paradox: Innovation and Intellectual Property in Fashion Design (with Kal Raustiala), 92 Va. L. Rev. 1687-1777 (2006); working draft printed in A Bill to Provide Protection for Fashion Design 90-178 (Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, July 27, 2006).

Indirect Enforcement of the Intellectual Property Clause, 30 Colum. J.L. & Arts 565-595 (2007).

There’s No Free Laugh (Anymore): The Emergence of Intellectual Property Norms and the Transformation of Stand-Up Comedy (with Dotan Oliar), 94 Va. L. Rev. 1787-1867 (2008).

Copyright and the Rule of Reason, 7 J. on Telecomm. & High Tech. L. 317-342 (2009).

From Corn to Norms: How IP Entitlements Affect What Stand-Up Comedians Create (with Dotan Oliar), 95 Va. L. Rev. In Brief 57-66 (2009).

The Piracy Paradox Revisited (with Kal Raustiala), 61 Stan. L. Rev. 1201-1225 (2009).

Valuing Intellectual Property: An Experiment (with Christopher Buccafusco), 96 Cornell L. Rev. 1-45 (2010).

The Creativity Effect (with Christopher Buccafusco), 78 U. Chi. L. Rev. 31-52 (2011).

Intellectual Property Norms in Stand-Up Comedy (with Dotan Oliar), in Making and Unmaking Intellectual Property: Creative Production in Legal and Cultural Perspective 385-398 (Mario Biagioli et al. eds., University of Chicago Press, 2011).

The Intersection of Patent and Antitrust Law, in Research Handbook on the Economics of Antitrust Law 351-377 (Einer Elhauge ed., Edward Elgar, 2012).

Reform(aliz)ing Copyright, in Intellectual Property Law and History 277-360 (Steven Wilf ed., Ashgate, 2012) (reprinted from 57 Stan. L. Rev. 485-568 (2004)).


Testimony, in A Bill to Provide Protection for Fashion Design 85-89, 179-192 (Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, July 27, 2006).

Congressional Power and Limitations Inherent in the Copyright Clause (panelist), 30 Colum. J.L. & Arts 259-285 (2007).

How Copyright Law Could Kill the Fashion Industry (with Kal Raustiala), TNR Online, Aug. 14, 2007.

Where IP Isn’t (with Kai Raustiala), Va. L. Rev. In Brief, Jan. 22, 2007.

Cue ‘Barracuda’ (with Siva Vaidhyanathan), Washington Post, Oct. 13, 2008, at A21; reprinted as In Music and Politics, Let Freedom Ring, Newark Star-Ledger, Oct. 14, 2008, at 15.

“That Ain’t Right!” (with Dotan Oliar), IP Law & Bus., Dec. 1, 2008, at 17.

Copyrighting Porn: A Guest Post (with Kal Raustiala), New York Times Freakonomic Blog, May 5, 2010.

Should Fashion Be Protected by Copyright Laws? A Guest Post, N.Y. Times Freakonomics Blog, Mar. 12, 2010.

The Vigilantes of Comedy: A Guest Post (with Kal Raustiala), N.Y. Times Freakonomics Blog, Mar. 30, 2010.

Who Owns the Korean Taco (with Kal Raustiala), N.Y. Times Freakonomics Blog, July 2, 2010.

Why Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery (with Kal Raustiala), N.Y. Times, Aug, 12, 2010, at A23.

Hillary for President, Chi. Tribune, Aug. 5, 2011.

Testimony, in Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act 74-90, 116-124 (Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, July 15, 2011).

Can Restoration Hardware Legally Knock Off The Navy Chair? (with Kal Raustiala), Slate, Nov. 26, 2012.

Could You Copyright the West Coast Offense? (with Kal Raustiala), L.A. Daily J., Sept. 6, 2012, at 7.

Creative License: What Is the Appropriate Balance Between Competition and Copying? (with Kal Raustiala), L.A. Times, Sept. 4, 2012, at A13.

Does Copying Kill Creativity?, Psychol. Today Blog, Sept. 26, 2012.

The (Over-)Optimism of Creators, Psychol. Today Blog, Oct. 8, 2012.

Welcome to The Knockoff Economy!, Psychol. Today Blog, Sept. 20, 2012.

What Apple and Red Shoes Have in Common: Using Broad Design to Block Competition (with Kal Raustiala), Wired, Sept. 10, 2012.

What’s a Name Worth? We Ran a Photo Contest to Find Out . . ., Psychol. Today Blog, Dec. 4, 2012.