Lateef Mtima

Professor of Law

J.D., 1985, Harvard University
B.S., 1982, Amherst College


Lateef Mtima is a Professor of Law at the Howard University School of Law. After graduating with honors from Amherst College, Professor Mtima received his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School, where he was the co-founder and later editor-in-chief of the Harvard BlackLetter Journal.

He is admitted to the New York and Pennsylvania bars and has practiced intellectual property, bankruptcy, and commercial law, including a decade in private practice with the international law firm of Coudert Brothers.

Currently a member of the Advisory Council for the United States Court of Federal Claims, Professor Mtima has held the post of Distinguished Libra Visiting Scholar in Residence at the University of Maine School of Law, is a past President of the Giles S. Rich Inn of Court for the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and was a member of the founding Editorial Board for the American Bar Association intellectual property periodical Landslide.

Professor Mtima is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice, an accredited Non-governmental Organization Member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).


Overdue legal recognition for African-American artists in ‘Blurred Lines’ copyright case: The Seattle Times
Article discusses why the recent Blurred Lines verdict is not only supported by the copyright law, but is an important development in the field of IP social justice. The article was written by Professors Sean O’Connor and Lateef Mtima, and entertainment attorney Lita Rosario.


“So Dark the CON(TU) of Man: The Quest for a Software Derivative Work Right in Section 117”, 69 U. Pitt. L. R. 1 (forthcoming Fall 2007);

“Natural Law and Positive Social Utility in the Digital Copyright Age” Ad honorem Ion Dogaru: Studii juridice alese 255 (Editura All Beck, Bucuresti 2005);

“Protecting and Licensing Software” Copyright and Common Law Contract Considerations” The Computer & Internet Lawyer, Vol. 22, No. 3, March 2005 at 13; “Tasini and Its Progeny: The New Exclusive Right Or Fair Use on the Electronic Publishing Frontier?”, 14 Fordham Intell. Property, Media & Ent. L. J. 369 (Winter 2004);

“The Road to the Bench: Not Even Good (subliminal) Intentions”, 8 U. Chi. L. Roundtable 135 (2001);

“Protecting Non-literal Elements of Computer Programs: Comparing the Approaches of Whelan and Altai”, Intellectual Property Counselor, No. 36, at 2, December 1999; “African-American Economic Empowerment Strategies for the New Millennium- Revisiting the Washington-Du Bois Dialectic”, 42 Howard Law Journal 391 (1999).