Dr. Katya Zakharov-Assaf

Katya Assaf
Senior Lecturer

Katya Assaf-Zakharov is a senior lecturer at the Law Faculty and the European Forum of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She studied law with a minor in sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (LL.B. and LL.M.) and did her Ph.D. studies at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich as a fellow of the Max Planck Institute for Competition and Innovation.

Katya has written on a variety of legal topics, such as advertising, trademarks, patents, freedom of expression, media regulation, defamation, and affirmative action. Her writings critically analyze consumer culture, brand fetishism, and capitalist ideology. They always combine legal analysis with insights from other disciplines, such as economics, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and semiotics. She is also interested in comparative law, particularly in comparing German and US-American legal regulations and tracing their cultural and philosophic roots. 

Recently, Katya’s research has begun to focus on urban public space. Together with the photographer Tim Schnetgöke, she is working to unearth the narratives embedded in our shared visual environment and criticize their legal regulation, such as the uneven treatment of graffiti or the privileged position of commercial advertising in public space. They aspire to develop a concept of a more inclusive city – one that would grant its residents a right to design and redesign public spaces. They are now looking to start an experiment implementing this idea as a project that would allow city residents to place their contributions – texts of images – in visible urban sites.



1996-2000 – The Hebrew University, Faculty of Law, LL.B
2000-2002 – The Hebrew University, Faculty of Law, LL.M graduated with honors
2003-2006 – Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Faculty of Law, Ph.D. (Supervisor: Reto M. Hilty) graduated summa cum laude
won Law Faculty Prize at Ludwig Maximilian University
won Otto Hahn Medal, an academic award granted by the Max Planck Society


Representative Publications

Reading the Illegible: Can Law Understand Graffiti? (with Tim Schnetgöke)53 Connecticut Law Review (forthcoming 2021)

The Importance of Being First: Economic and Non-economic Dimensions of Inventorship in US-American and German Law (with Lisa Herzog), The American Journal of Comparative Law (forthcoming 2021)

Work, Identity, and the Regulation of Markets: A Study of Trademark Law in the U.S. and Germany (with Lisa Herzog), 44 Law & Social Inquiry 1083 (2019)

Non-Traditional Trademarks as (Non-Traditional) Means of Cultural Control?, in Non-Traditional Marks and the (Risks of the) Expansion of Trademark  Rights in Singapore (Irene Calboli & Martin Senflleben, eds.) Oxford University Press (2018)

Of Patents and Cobras: Changing the Incentive Structure of Patent Law, 35 Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal 1 (2017)

Buying Goods and Doing Good: Trademarks and Social Competition, 67 Alabama Law Review 100-139 (2016)

Capitalism against Freedom, 38 NYU Review of Law & Social Change 201 (2015)

Der Zauber der Marke, 2015 GRUR Int. 426 (2015)

Magical Thinking in Trademark Law, 37 Law & Social Inquiry 595 (2012)

Brand Fetishism43 Connecticut Law Review 83 (2010)

Der Markenschutz und seine kulturelle Bedeutung: Ein Vergleich des deutschen mit dem US-amerikanischen, 2009 GRUR Int. 1 (2009) 

The Dilution of Culture and the Law of Trademarks, 49 IDEA 1 (2008)