Deborah R. Gerhardt

Print This Page (PDF) Associate Professor of Law


  • J.D. (cum laude), Case Western Reserve University (1990)
  • A.B., Duke University (1987)

Deborah R. Gerhardt is an Associate Professor at the UNC School of Law. She specializes in the intersection of law and creativity and has written leading articles in trademark and copyright law, art law, false advertising and plagiarism. With West Publishing, Professor Gerhardt recently co-authored its first bridge to practice contracts text. She received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation to support research to clarify whether art and historical documents are protected by copyright or in the public domain.

In 2015, Professor Gerhardt was invited to participate in the Chancellor's Faculty Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, where she led her team to win the pitch competition.  Also, in 2015, she was selected by the Advertising Educational Foundation for a fellowship in its Visiting Professor Program where she is the first person J. Walter Thompson, the world's largest advertising agency, sponsored for a fellowship.

Professor Gerhardt teaches Art Law, Copyright Law, Trademark Law, Contracts and a practical writing seminar on intellectual property strategies and transactions.  She secured UNC a slot in the USPTO's pilot clinical program and led the effort to launch Carolina's Intellectual Property Clinic where she teaches students practical skills while providing pro bono counsel to artists, musicians and small businesses.  In this past academic year, Professor Gerhardt coached Carolina's trademark moot court team to a regional victory and a top 10 finish nationally.

Prior to joining the faculty at UNC, Deborah Gerhardt clerked for the Honorable Judge John M. Manos in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and practiced at Jones Day Reavis & Pogue in Cleveland. She earned her A.B. degree from Duke University and her J.D. degree cum laude from Case Western Reserve School of Law.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Selected Publications

Show All Publications

  • Do Trademark Attorneys Make A Difference?, ITMA REV. 22 (2013).
  • Do Trademark Lawyers Matter? (Jon P. McClanahan and Deborah R. Gerhardt), 16 STAN. TECH. L. REV. 583 (2013). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein, BEPress, Document Link]
  • Social Media Amplify Consumer Investment in Trademarks, 90 N.C. L. Rev. 1491 (2012). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein]
  • Copyright Publication: An Empirical Study, 87 NOTRE DAME L. REV. 135 (2011). [Data] [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein, BEPress, Document Link (PDF)]
  • Consumer Investment in Trademarks, 88 N.C. L. Rev. 427 (2010). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein, BEPress]
  • Fair Use and Fairness on Campus (with M. Wessel), 11 N.C. J.L. & TECH. 461 (2010).    [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein]
  • Protect Your Right to Write Again:Tips for Assuring That Your Publication Agreement is a Comfortable Fit (with D. Kjervik), 12 J. Nursing L. 124 (2008).
  • Reading the Fine Print, THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, March 22, 2007.  [Document Link]
  • The 2006 Trademark Dilution Revision Act Rolls out a Luxury Claim and a Parody Exemption, 8 N.C. J.L. & TECH. 205 (2007). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein, Document Link (PDF)]
  • The Rules of Attribution, THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, May 26, 2006, at B20, reprinted in THE WELL-CRAFTED ARGUMENT, A GUIDE AND READER, 3rd ed., at 347 (F. White and S. Billings eds.) (Houghton Mifflin 2008).  Also reprinted in TEXT MESSAGING: READING AND WRITING ABOUT POPULAR CULTURE, at 69 (J. Alberti, ed.) (Houghton Mifflin 2009). [PE1431 .W48 2008]
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