David Stephenson, Jr., Ph.D.

Of Counsel

Dave has over thirty years of experience in intellectual property litigation and licensing and providing strategic advice to clients on how to optimize the value of their intellectual property portfolios. He focuses his practice on strategic intellectual property licensing advice and counsel. As counsel for an international computer software company for many years, Dr. Stephenson won numerous trials for his client, resulting in monetary awards and orders enforcing trade secret and copyright licensing agreements that he was originally responsible for writing and negotiating.

Dr. Stephenson is also an internationally published author and highly-acclaimed public speaker. He has tried cases in state and federal courts throughout the United States and several American Indian tribal courts and has developed an international reputation as an expert on the intellectual property and cultural heritage rights of Indigenous peoples. He has testified as an expert witness internationally in that capacity, and he authored an amicus brief supporting the prevailing parties in one of the most significant heritage rights cases in the history of the Colorado Supreme Court, Lobato v. Taylor, 71 P.3d 938 (Colo. 2002).

Dave is recognized annually by his attorney peers and the judiciary as achieving the highest rating possible, Judicial AV-Preeminent, for both ethical standards and legal ability. He also has been named a Top Denver Lawyer by The National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, and The Wall Street Journal, and as a Colorado Super Lawyer in the field of intellectual property law.

  • Current Board Member, The Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law
  • Board Member, IPinCH–British Columbia-based international research project on cultural heritage rights, 2003-2016
  • President, International Society of Ethnobiology, 2011-2012
  • Advisory board member, University of Colorado Center for Global Health, providing consultation regarding multi-party health intervention projects throughout the world, 2003–2009
  • Chair, Legislative Affairs Committee, Colorado’s first-ever innovative technology DemoGala, sponsored by CSIA (Colorado’s Software & Internet Association) (now Colorado’s Technology Association) and the Governor’s Technology Office and APEX Awards, 2005–2006
  • “The Intextricable Link Between DNA Sampling From the Oldest Extant Human Societies and the Ethical and Legal Challenges Foreshadowed by the Declaration of Belém,” 16th Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology, Belém, Brazil, August, 2018
  • “Guidelines, Consent Instruments, Procedures and Protocols for DNA Sampling with San Traditional Communities in Namibia,” South African San Institute, OSISA, and Anthropos, Tsumkwe, Namibia, November, 2016
  • “Writing, Speaking, and Performance: The Dialectic in the Law Between the Preservation and Protection of Cultural Heritage and its Presentation for 21st Century Tourists,” Stó:lō Resource Centre, Stó:lō Nation, Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, June, 2013
  • Program Chair, Dartmouth Lawyers Association Mid-Winter Conference, “What Every Dartmouth Lawyer Should Know About Intellectual Property Law,” Steamboat Springs, CO, February, 2013
  • Keynote Speaker, International conference on a landmark indigenous peoples cultural heritage case (The Wai 262 case), Auckland, New Zealand, May, 2012
    “The Power and Purpose of International Law,” Book review. 41(2) The Colorado Lawyer 69, February 2012
  • “Legal Approaches to the Protection of Indigenous Knowledge and Associated Biological and Cultural Diversity,” panel presentation, 12th International Congress of Ethnobiology, Tofino, British Columbia, Canada, May 2010
  • “Pharmaceutical Companies, Intellectual Property Transfer, and South Africa,” An invited presentation to the University of Colorado’s Center for Global Health, Denver, Colorado, May, 2004
  • “The Patenting of P57 and the Intellectual Property Rights of the San Peoples of Southern Africa” (a Case Study co-authored with the San Peoples and First Peoples Worldwide), April, 2003
  • “San Reach Landmark IPR Benefit-Sharing Accord for Diet Pill,” Cultural Survival Quarterly, Spring, 2003
  • “The Nexus Between Intellectual Property Piracy, International Law, the Internet, and Cultural Values,” 14 ST. THOMAS LAW REVIEW 315 (2001), Originally prepared for presentation to an international conference at the National University of Singapore, Singapore, September, 2001
  • “Contracts and Licenses for Genetic Information: An Introduction to Alternative Mechanisms for Protecting the Intellectual Property of American Indians in the Context of the Human Genome Project,” First Conference of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center ELSI Working Group, Aspen, Colorado, April, 2001.
  • “Protecting Intellectual Property in the Twenty-First Century: The Case of the Cow Creek Tribe and Indian Motorcycle,” Cultural Survival Quarterly, (co-author) Winter, 2001 (pp. 51-53)
  • “A Practical Primer on Intellectual Property Rights in a Contemporary Ethnoecological Context,” In Ethnoecology: Situated Knowledge/Located Lives, V. D. Nazarea, ed. Tucson, AZ: U. of Arizona Press, 1999
  • “International Human Rights Law and Indigenous Peoples’ Intellectual Property Rights,” Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Tucson, AZ, April, 1999
  • Plenary Speaker, International Workshop on Bioprospecting and Strategies for Industrial Exploitation of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (Sponsors: UN Industrial Development Organization and the Organization of African Unity), Enugu, Nigeria, September, 1997
  • Featured Presenter and Co-author, “The Law of the Internet in Colorado,” National Business Institute CLE Program, Denver, CO, June, 1997
  • “The Importance of the UNCED Convention on Biological Diversity to the Loita Maasai of Kenya,” In Human Values of Biodiversity, G. Dutfield and D.A. Posey, eds., Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996

Hiking, tennis, fly fishing, snow shoeing, bird watching, travel, movies, reading, writing poetry and memoirs, spectator sports

  • J.D., University of Denver College of Law
  • Ph.D., Applied Anthropology, University of Colorado
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of Colorado
  • A.B. (with distinction), Dartmouth College
  • Colorado Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Federal Claims
  • Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • United States Court for the District of Colorado