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Sean B. Seymore

Centennial Professor of Law
Professor of Chemistry

Sean Seymore’s research focuses on how patent law and policy should evolve in response to advances in science and technology. Professor Seymore rejoined Vanderbilt’s law faculty as the Centennial Professor of Law in 2022, having taught at Notre Dame Law School in 2021. He had previously served on Vanderbilt Law faculty from 2010 to 2021, holding the New York Alumni Chancellor's Chair in Law from 2019 to 2021. Before joining Vanderbilt, Seymore taught at Washington & Lee University School of Law, where he was an assistant professor of law and earned the designations of Alumni Faculty Fellow and Huss Faculty Fellow for his scholarship and teaching. In 2007-08 Seymore was a visiting assistant professor at Northwestern University School of Law. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute.

Before earning his J.D. and entering the legal academy, Seymore held academic appointments in chemistry at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Rowan University and was a visiting scientist at Indiana University, Bloomington. After earning his law degree, he practiced patent law with Foley Hoag in Boston. As an active member of the American Chemical Society (ACS), he served on the executive committee for the Division of Chemistry and the Law from 2009 to 2012, on the Committee on Patents and Related Matters from 2006-07 and on the Younger Chemists Committee from 2002 to 2006. In spring 2012, Seymore was appointed to the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Associate Professor.

Seymore earned his B.S. in chemistry at the University of Tennessee as a Tennessee Scholar, an M.S.Chem. (with thesis) from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Notre Dame with an Arthur J. Schmitt Presidential Fellowship, and a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame with an Allen Endowment Fellowship. His dissertation, Polar Effects in Metal-Mediated Nitrogen and Oxygen Atom Transfer, led to four peer-reviewed publications in Inorganic Chemistry, including a cover article. He was appointed the law school's first Enterprise Scholar in fall 2013 and to the inaugural cohort of Chancellor Faculty Fellows in 2015.

Research Interests

Patent law, law and science


Representative Publications

  • “Patent Forfeiture,” 72 Duke Law Journal (forthcoming 2023)
    Full Text | SSRN
  • “Unclean Patents,” 102 Boston University Law Review (forthcoming 2022)
    Full Text | SSRN
  • “The Death of the Genus Claim,“ 35 Harvard Journal of Law and Technology 1 (2021) (with Dmitry Karshtedt and Mark A. Lemley)
    Full Text | SSRN
  • "The Research Patent," 74 Vanderbilt Law Review 143 (2021)
    Full Text | SSRN
  • "Patenting New Uses for Old Inventions,” 73 Vanderbilt Law Review 479 (2020)
    Full Text | SSRN
  • “Patenting the Unexplained,” 96 Washington University Law Review 707 (2019)
    Full Text | SSRN
  • “Patenting Around Failure,” 166 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1139 (2018)
    Full Text | SSRN
  • “Reinvention,” 92 Notre Dame Law Review 1031 (2017)
    Full Text | SSRN
  • “Patent Asymmetries,” 49 UC Davis Law Review 963 (2016)
    Full Text | SSRN
  • "Foresight Bias in Patent Law," 90 Notre Dame Law Review 1105 (2015)
    Full Text | SSRN