The OIPRC was established in 1990 at St Peter's College by Faculty member Peter Hayward, with an initial gift from the Hitachi Foundation.  In the 1990s, it developed a visitors programme and multidisciplinary (law and economics) research agenda.

In 1998 Peter Hayward retired, and Professor David Vaver was made Director of the Centre. The Centre's website, seminar series and electronic journal were established in the same year, followed in 2002/3 by its Mock Trial and International IP Moot. In the years since these events have grown, with the Moot in particular earning a well-deserved place on the international IP scene.

The Centre's move to the Faculty of Law in 2008 represented a wonderful opportunity for consolidation and growth, both for the Centre itself and IP at Oxford more generally. It came at a time of wider growth in IP at Oxford, through such initiatives as the creation of a Career Development Fellowship in IP and a postgraduate programme - the Diploma in Intellectual Property Law and Practice.  The Diploma was a new collaboration between the University and the Intellectual Property Lawyers' Association, and was the first part-time, vocational programme ever to be offered by the Law Faculty; it represented a further opportunity for us to strengthen our expertise in IP and relationship with private practice. 

In 2009, Professor Graeme Dinwoodie was appointed as Director of the Centre upon being elected to the Chair in Intellectual Property Law, and he served until January 2018 when he resigned the Chair to return to the United States.  At that time, Professor Dev Gangjee was appointed Director of the Centre.