Michael Risch

Vice Dean
Professor of Law


Michael Risch, vice dean and a professor of law, is a member of the Villanova University's IP Policy Board. Risch’s teaching and scholarship focus on intellectual property and internet law, with an emphasis on patents, trade secrets and information access. His articles have appeared in the Stanford Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Iowa Law Review, Indiana Law Journal, Florida Law Review, George Mason Law Review, Harvard Journal of Law & Technology and Stanford Technology Law Review, among other journals. His work has also appeared at the Yale Law Journal Online, and Penn Law Review Online. Risch is a contributor at the Written Description blog and a periodic guest contributor at the Patently-O, Prawfsblawg, and Faculty Lounge blogs. His work has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Prior to joining the Villanova Law in 2010, Risch was an associate professor at the West Virginia University College of Law, where he founded the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Program and its Entrepreneurship Law Clinic. Prior to that, he was an Olin Fellow in Law at Stanford Law School and a partner at intellectual property boutique Russo & Hale LLP in Palo Alto, California. He remains of counsel with its successor, Computer Law Group LLP. His practice centers around expert testimony; intellectual property litigation, licensing, auditing, and protection; complex civil litigation; start-up and entrepreneurial counseling; and alternative dispute resolution. He is a member of the bars of California, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ninth and Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the Northern District of California.

Risch is also an avid computer programmer and has customized, installed and maintained portal websites for both his own academic pursuits and his former firm. He also developed an electronic mail plug-in that allowed early versions of Novell Groupwise email software to seamlessly use Pretty Good Privacy encryption; Network Associates, the maker of PGP software, purchased the software in 1998. Risch is a co-author of a book on software development for Novell Groupwise.

Risch graduated from Stanford University with honors and distinction in public policy and with distinction in quantitative economics; he was a national merit scholar there. He earned his law degree at the University of Chicago, where he graduated with high honors and was an Olin Fellow in Law & Economics and a Bradley Fellow in Law & Economics.

Practice Experience

  • Member of California, Supreme Court, Federal Circuit, Ninth Circuit bars
  • Independent expert witness
  • Of Counsel, Computer Law Group, Palo Alto, California
  • Former partner, Russo & Hale LLP, Palo Alto, California

Office: Rm 377, John F. Scarpa Hall
Phone: 610-519-6836



Courses and Seminars

  • Advanced IP and Cyberlaw
  • Contracts
  • Intellectual Property
  • Internet Law
  • Patent Law



  • University of Chicago, JD - High Honors
  • Stanford University, AB - Honors and Distinction