BA, 1991, MA, 1994, PhD (Modern European History), 1998, University of California, Los Angeles
JD, 2002, LLM (International Trade & Intellectual Property), 2005, University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law
Dr. Elizabeth Townsend Gard is the John E. Koerner Endowed Professor of Law; Founding Director of the Tulane Center for IP, Media & Culture, and Deputy Faculty Director, Masters of Jurisprudence Labor and Employment Law Program.
She specializes in Intellectual Property law, including copyright, trademark, and comparative intellectual property; and entrepreneurship, including social entrepreneurship, solopreneurs, and handcraft-entrepreneurs. In 2022, after years of teaching in the Tulane Masters of Jurisprudence in Labor and Employment Law program, she became its Deputy Faculty Director. In that program, she has focused her teaching on the intersection of intellectual property and social media within the context of employment law and business practices across the country.
Townsend Gard's philosophy combines theory and doctrine with immersive practice, both inside and outside of the classroom. For the last decade, she has worked with students to teach skills needed to be successful in both a law practice as well as in the entrepreneurial world for the 21st century.
She strongly believes in mentoring students. To that end, she has worked with more than 90 research assistants, and regularly works with students to think through how to make their own road and journey in the legal world. She also has worked with students' projects in specialized internships at the Library of Congress, Internet Archive, and the Frick Collection, as well as sending students on research trips to Washington D.C., Paris, New York, Oxford, and Berlin.
Townsend Gard is the co-inventor and director of the Durationator®, a software system that aims to determine the worldwide copyright status of every kind of cultural work. She also co-owns the Tulane spin-out company, Limited Times, which is commercializing the Durationator® software and services. Students have worked on this project for more than a decade, both on the copyright and entrepreneurial sides, and will continue to do so as it enters its next phase of development. As part of this project, she has developed a database of the Catalog of Copyright Entries (scanned PDFs from the Internet Archive) to assist in searching the copyright records, 1909-1978. The Durationator over the years has expanded its scope to include fair use, classroom uses, library uses, pre-1972 sound recordings, and moral rights.
Townsend Gard is also the host of "Just Wanna Quilt," a research podcast focused on quilting, entrepreneurship and copyright. Launched in 2018, the podcast more than 400 interviews of quilters, industry, scholars, lawyers, and now, with the onset of COVID-19, more than 75 interviews focused on mask making. The podcast has over 25,000 subscribers, and have had over a half a million downloads in its first three years. There is a corresponding Facebook group, Just Wanna Quilt, with over 4100 members, along with sub-groups. As part of this project, Townsend Gard has stated a publishing house, with Ricardo Gonzalez, with seven publications in its first year, including Just Wanna Patent, Just Wanna Create: Copyright and Fair Use Strategies, Just Wanna Trademark, and A Little Bit of Copyright, and Just Wanna Quilt Notebook. Just Wanna Quilt now has a spin-out company, Quilting Army Krewe, LLC.
All of Townsend Gard's courses engage in entrepreneurial activities focused on these projects and more. Other projects in the past include a video game project (that turned into a publication for Routledge), artists and the law project, pre-1972 sound recordings and Hogan Jazz Archive project, Section 512 project, and many more. The goal of the projects is to engage in the act of doing and working with communities that are facing specific legal issues to better understand and train law students.
Townsend Gard has held a number of fellowships associated with entrepreneurship including stints at Idea Village, Propeller, the Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Tulane, and she was a Social Entrepreneurship Fellow (the Jill H. and Avram A. Glazer Professor of Entrepreneurship) for five years. She has also been granted research awards from Tulane University, technology transfer, and the Provost to support her entrepreneurial work, along with the Paul Verkuil Faculty Research Fund at Tulane Law School.
She also works and assists with running a New Orleans based LGBTQ+ Generation Z arts collective, Eyeridium, which is a blend of original and fan art, crafts, crochet, quilts, and candles.
As with many, Townsend Gard found herself at the beginning of the pandemic trying to help with the mask shortage. She started a resource and Facebook group dedicated to providing resources and information to sewists around the country making masks for frontline workers. As part of this endeavor, she personally made more than 800 masks, donating them to a Tulane pediatric immigration clinic, homeless programs, and a Ninth Ward local supermarket. She also was awarded two grants, one from Newcomb Institute and the other from the Taylor Center, to purchase equipment and more than 1000 yards of fabric for 7th Ward sewists working to make masks.
Out of this work came the Homemade Mask Virtual Summit in June 2020, sponsored by the Newcomb Institute, and co-sponsored by the Taylor Center for Innovation and Design Thinking, where scientists and sewists came together over two days to discuss the state and science of homemade masks. This included over 55 panelists and 600 sewists, with the outcome an infographic developed to assist in translating information on mask-making best practices. Townsend Gard was one of the lead authors on the infographic.
Masters of Jurisprudence in Labor and Employment Law
Her work with the MJ-LEL program is taking up new time and responsibilites. She has been teaching in the program since the beginning. Now, she takes up the task of thinking about how one creates community and content, how we transition students to legal professionals, and through the work in the Capstone, how to create the Tulane Labor and Employment Association, for students, alumni and the larger legal HR community.
Townsend Gard earned a Ph.D. in European History from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a J.D./LL.M. in International Trade from the University of Arizona, specializing in NAFTA, and the intersection of intellectual property and trade law. She served as a clerk on two NAFTA arbitrations for arbitrator David Gantz. She joined the Tulane faculty in 2007. Previously, she taught for one year at Seattle University School of Law as a visiting assistant professor, where she was also a Justice Faculty Fellow at the Center for the Study of Justice in Society. Before that, she taught intellectual property at the London School of Economics, where she held a Leverhulme Trust Research Postdoctoral Fellowship. Since 2004, she has been a non-resident fellow at the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society. In 2019-2020, she was the Greenbaum Fellow at Newcomb Institute, to study narrativity and gender in fiber arts.
Townsend Gard was cited twice by the U.S. Supreme Court in Golan v. Holder (2017) for her work on the Durationator. She has been published in Vanderbilt Law Review, DePaul Law Review, Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal, the Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A., Journal of Internet Law, Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts and Santa Clara Computer & High Technology Law Journal. She has written a chapter for "Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Evolving Economies (Edward Elgar, 2012)" and co-authored a piece with Ron Gard in Modernism and Copyright (Oxford University Press, 2010). She has also written casebooks on intellectual property and social media. She is regularly interviewed by newspapers and other media for her expertise on copyright and entrepreneurship, and now mask making.
And every night, she quilts.