Sayoko Blodgett-Ford

Drake University Law School is pleased to welcome Sayoko Blodgett-Ford as the inaugural Edmund Sease Research Professor.

This new professorship role honors Edmund (Ed) Sease, LA’64, LW’67, an expert in the field of Intellectual Property (IP).  Sease was instrumental in establishing the IP program at Drake Law, where he taught as an adjunct professor for over 40 years. The funding for this position helped attract a leading voice in Artificial Intelligence (AI) law to Drake: Professor Sayoko Blodgett-Ford.

Professor Blodgett-Ford has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with Drake Law students. She holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, in addition to a Masters in Physics (Theoretical Quantum Mechanics) from the University of Maryland and a Masters in Philosophy (Artificial Intelligence) from Columbia. Her impressive background includes serving as general counsel of Tetris Online, Inc., and as Senior Manager of the Intellectual Property Group at Nintendo of America Inc. She has also taught intellectual property law courses at the University of Washington, the University of Hawaii, and Boston College. She will help prepare Drake Law students to utilize AI effectively in practice, while also recognizing the risks of this technology to law and society.

Blodgett-Ford’s passion for intellectual property law is rooted in her love of art and science. She finds the field to be a never-ending source of new information and interest. “Intellectual Property (IP) law is never boring. There are strategic choices to be made whether on the offense or the defense when it comes to IP,” said Blodgett-Ford. “I see interesting new cases and examples of IP law every day, even when I am just walking around, reading the news, or seeing new case alerts.”

Blodgett-Ford also uses her background as a physicist to explore artificial intelligence law, ethics, and philosophy. Her interdisciplinary approach to IP studies will serve as a great asset to Drake Law students. With new AI models such as GPT-4, the model that powers ChatGPT, Blodgett-Ford is coming to Drake ready to discuss lots of new types of IP issues with students.

“Professor Blodgett-Ford brings not only world-class expertise, but also tremendous energy and vision to our IP program,” said Dean of Drake Law School, Jerry Anderson. “She also will connect across campus, to offer her legal expertise to augment the growing Drake University program in Artificial Intelligence.”

“I look forward to helping empower the amazing faculty, staff, students, and the greater Des Moines community to realize how much they already know about IP, privacy/security and AI and how much they can contribute in any, or all, of these areas if they are interested,” said Blodgett-Ford. “The challenges are hard, but together we can do good work.”