General Counsel and Vice President of Spotify, Horacio Gutierrez, J.D. ’98, to Give Commencement Address

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Horacio Gutiérrez’s curriculum vitae reads like every serious law student’s dream: Spotify Group’s new general counsel and vice president of business and legal affairs; 17 years at Microsoft Corporation, including as general counsel and corporate vice president for legal affairs; an LL.M. from Harvard Law School, which he attended as a Fulbright Scholar; a Juris Doctor degree summa cum laude from the University of Miami; a Bachelor of Laws degree from Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas, Venezuela; and a post-graduate diploma in corporate and commercial law from the same university.

 

Along the way, Gutiérrez, J.D. `98, founded and developed the Hispanic National Bar Association/Microsoft Intellectual Property Institute, after noticing so few Hispanic law students were pursuing careers in intellectual property law.

Every summer 25 law students from law schools throughout the country participate in a week-long IP law immersion program in Washington D.C. The IP institute provides substantive instruction, hands-on practical experience, writing workshops, visits to U.S. government institutions related to IP law (the Patent and Trademark Office, Copyright Office, Federal Trade Commission, House and Senate Judiciary Committees, U.S. International Trade Commission, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit), briefings from leading IP practitioners and congressional and executive branch authorities, and networking opportunities, all designed to give participants a broad understanding of IP law practice.

For two years in a row, Billboard named the Venezuelan native one of the top music lawyers in the industry. Miami Law’s 2013 Inter-American Law Review named him “Lawyer of the Americas.” At the annual law review banquet he spoke to students about the increasing importance of patents in the business world, even to the point of patents becoming a currency of sorts that can be traded. “For the free world trade to exist, you need IP" because it "has become an essential facet of world trade." Gutiérrez has filed 7,000 patent applications around the world every year.

At Spotify, Gutiérrez is responsible for overseeing the music, podcast, and video streaming service’s global legal, regulatory and government affairs, and serves as corporate secretary to its board of directors. In addition, he heads Spotify’s global licensing function, which is responsible for commercial licensing activities with record labels, music publishers, performance rights organizations and other right holders around the world.

After almost two decades at Microsoft living and working in the United States, Europe, and Latin America, Gutiérrez brought a rich multicultural perspective, as well as extensive international professional experience to Spotify. While at Microsoft, he worked in a variety of international roles, including four years leading the legal and corporate affairs team in Europe. He then spent eight years as the deputy general counsel responsible for innovation, intellectual property and licensing before becoming deputy general counsel for all of Microsoft’s products and services, including product research, engineering, strategy, and marketing groups.

Throughout his career, Gutiérrez has been involved in some of the most complex and cutting-edge legal issues in the tech industry and in many high-profile legal and regulatory matters. As head of the intellectual property group, he concluded numerous intellectual property deals, including licensing agreements with companies around the world.

He has played a leading role around the globe on innovation policy issues, including intellectual property, competition policy, and internet regulation issues—all of which he says was “possible only because of the law school's foresight and determination in establishing itself as a hub for the study of international and inter-American law, and as a magnet for students from Latin America.

“While the study of core U.S. law subjects like contracts, torts, civil procedure and constitutional law provided me the building blocks of my U.S. legal career,” he says “the focus on international law subjects made my experience at Miami Law feel like a natural progression in a process that had started earlier in a different legal system.”

Gutiérrez has trained and practiced law in both civil law and common law jurisdictions. He is licensed to practice in the states of New York, Florida, and Washington, as well as in Venezuela.

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