Frank Nguyen and Van Le

Starting in the Fall of 2024, Santa Clara Law students who are focused on IP will be eligible for a newly established scholarship specifically for IP students, thanks to a generous gift from Frank Nguyen J.D. ’94 and his wife, Van Le, through the Nguyen-Le Family Trust. The Frank D. Nguyen Endowed Scholarship will be an annual, merit-based scholarship to encourage and promote the pursuit of excellence in legal scholarship and research in IP and high tech law at Santa Clara Law. This is the first endowed scholarship at SCU specifically focused on the area of IP.

A longtime generous supporter of Santa Clara Law and a member of the Law Advisory Board since 2017, Frank Nguyen is the retired VP of IP and licensing at Intuitive Surgical, Inc., based in Sunnyvale. During his tenure, the medical device company grew from $91 million in annual revenues to over $5.71 billion in 2021. At Intuitive, which employs more than 12,000 people worldwide, Nguyen was responsible for devising and implementing IP strategies, and he helped increase the company’s patents and applications portfolio from 200 to more than 7,000. In addition, Nguyen led the technology licensing function for the company that identified and acquired and/or licensed numerous patent portfolios, helping Intuitive achieve an industry-leading patent portfolio. In 2012, Nguyen was recognized by the Silicon Valley Business Journal as one of the three finalists for the Corporate IP Lawyer of the Year award in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Frank Nguyen and Van Le with Dean Kaufman“We are so grateful to Frank for his tremendous leadership gift, which will ensure that future generations of law students benefit from the same extraordinary education he received,” says Santa Clara Law Dean Michael Kaufman. “Frank’s commitment to Santa Clara Law through this gift—as well as his dedication of time and talent to our Law Advisory Board—are a testament to his remarkable character, vision, and compassion.” 

In the early 1990s, Nguyen was an electro-mechanical engineer in Mountain View with dreams of earning his law degree, but he didn’t feel ready to give up being an engineer, so he enrolled in Santa Clara Law’s part-time program. “I remember a lot of my part-time classmates—we were all juggling working and going to school,” he says. 

Despite all the long hours and late nights, Nguyen says he truly appreciates his time at Santa Clara Law. “My experience at SCU was very memorable. I had the most excellent experience as a law student, with the faculty, the support, and my peers, who were outstanding,” he says. Plus, he adds, “the IP program at the time was really on the rise, and the ethics that were taught by Santa Clara were top notch, too.” He also says he is grateful for the “very nurturing environment” he experienced as a law student. 

Nguyen says he was inspired to create an endowed scholarship in the IP area because, despite Santa Clara Law’s top national ranking in IP, the school did not have any endowed scholarships focused on IP. He felt this new scholarship was one significant way he could help Santa Clara Law be better able to compete for, recruit, and retain top IP students. 

“I want to show my appreciation of Santa Clara Law for giving me the opportunities and the kind of career I was able to enjoy,” says Nguyen. “I was given a great opportunity to get into the early phase of IP law in Silicon Valley, and I don’t think my career could have been any better,” he says. “I just retired relatively early because of the many opportunities I had in Silicon Valley as an IP attorney. I want to help give the next generation of students the same opportunity.”

If you would like to donate to this scholarship fund, or to learn more about supporting Santa Clara Law students, contact Jolee David, Assistant Dean of Advancement, at (408) 554-5496.

Consider supporting this new fund on the School of Law Day of Giving, April 10, 2024.