Advisory Board

Leigh Outten, J.D., MSc, MBA

Leigh Outten, J.D., MSc, MBA is Associate General Counsel on Intellectual Property of EMEIA at Trane Technologies. She is a Solicitor of England and Wales, European Patent Attorney, and American Patent Attorney registered with New York State, Unified Court System, and the Office of Court Administration.

Trane Technologies was previously known as Ingersoll Rand Benelux where Leigh was Senior Corporate Counsel on Intellectual Property.

As Associate General Counsel, Leigh is now providing leadership for intellectual property portfolio development, managing intellectual property transactional matters including technology licensing, providing focused legal advice and guidance on technology and innovation matters involving joint development agreements, strategic alliances, and competitive technology.

Previously Leigh was working for Adidas Group as Senior Patent Counsel from 2014 until 2017 at their headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany. There, Leigh was working with the international innovation team always thinking of the next product.

Leigh earned her Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 2013 and graduated Magna Cum Laude. To finish her J.D., she attended Downing College at the University of Cambridge.

She earned her MBA in Business Administration in 2005 from the Collège des Ingénieurs in Paris after she earned her two Master’s Degree of Science in Nuclear Engineering and Technology and Policy in 2004 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 2000, Leigh earned her Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and graduated Summa Cum Laude.

Leigh started her career as a full-time engineer in the Saturn foundry while she was alternating between semesters at school as Engineering Assistant between 1996 and 2000. She became an Intern at GE Aircraft Engines where she managed the materials area in aircraft manufacturing.

Leigh realized the work was not for her, so she continued her education at MIT, and did her Research Internship at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory on the fuel for advanced reactors, all the while she was Research Assistant at MIT for three years.

In 2004, she left for Europe, to do her MBA at Collège des Ingénieurs, one of France’s most selective academic institutions, and decided to stay in Europe after.

Between 2004 and 2012, while in Europe, Leigh worked for many companies, including AirLiquide, Bombardier Transportation, and Hertin IP Lawfirm, and as Patent Agent for Darb & Darby and Leydig, Voit & Mayer. In these years, Leigh decided she really wanted to go to law school and went back to the University of Tennessee for her J.D. in 2012.

After graduation, she returned to Europe to work for the Patent Law Office of Dr. Norman B. Thot in Frankfurt Am Main, Germany, where she supported European clients in filing patents in the United States. Soon she was hired as an in-house patent counsel with the Adidas Group in 2014.

In March 2022, Leigh together with Professor Glenn Reynolds, coauthored Pulsed Nuclear Space Propulsion and International Law: Some Preliminary Observations. An abstract:

“Pulsed Nuclear Space Propulsion, researched in the 1950s and 1960s by such eminent physicists as Freeman Dyson, Ted Taylor, Theodore von Karman, and Hans Bethe, involves propelling large spacecraft using compact nuclear explosions from specialized atomic devices. This technology is often known by the name of the Air Force project in which it was developed, Orion.

It has long been believed that the 1962 Limited Test Ban Treaty prohibits the use of nuclear pulse space propulsion. After a survey of the Orion project and its results, and a review of the applicable law, this paper concludes that language in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty may override the Test Ban agreement to permit non-weapons use of nuclear explosives for propulsion.

With a new space race taking place, and with important actors like China not subject to the Test Ban Treaty at all, the subject of pulsed nuclear space propulsion deserves another look. We hope that this paper serves as a springboard to discussion.”

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