Santa Clara Law Associate Professor of Law Colleen V. Chien has been named a Young Scholar by The American Law Institute (ali.org). The American Law Institute is the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and improve the law. The ALI drafts, discusses, revises, and publishes Restatements of the Law, Model Codes, and Principles of Law that are enormously influential in the courts and legislatures, as well as in legal scholarship and education. Professor Chien was named one of two recipients. The award is presented every other year at the Institute’s Annual Meeting to one or two outstanding early-career law professors whose work has the potential to influence improvements in the law.

“These two extraordinary professors have already had an impact on important legal issues,” said the chair of the Young Scholars Medal Selection Committee, Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar of the California Supreme Court. “Professor Chien’s work in intellectual property law has already helped shape governmental policy around innovation.”

Chien’s scholarship focuses on domestic and international patent law and policy issues, and she has already played an important role in helping to formulate public policy on intellectual property and innovation, privacy, open government, and civil liberties. From 2013-15, she served as a Senior Advisor to the Chief Technology Officer of the United States on Intellectual Property and Innovation in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where her work ranged from advancing open data policies to increasing access to pediatric AIDS medicines. Having testified twice before the House Judiciary Committee and numerous times before other federal agencies, Chien coined the now-ubiquitous term “patent assertion entity” in 2010. Her work on patent assertion business models—which rely on the use of patents to extract money from others rather than commercialize technology—has been the basis of studies and policy initiatives by the White House, the Federal Trade Commission, and Congress (in the America Invents Act), and the term has been referred to thousands of times by academic and news sources. Policy recommendations that she and her co-authors, in law review articles and other fora, have been adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court, in Congressional bills, at the US Patent and Trade Office, and by 32 states.

Chien joined the Santa Clara Law faculty in 2007. Prior to that, she was an associate and then special counsel at Fenwick & West LLP in San Francisco. She has been a fellow at the Stanford Center for Law and the Biosciences, and visiting senior scholar at Berkeley Law’s Center for Law and Technology. She also worked as a strategy consultant at Dean and Company, a spacecraft engineer at NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab, and an investigative journalist at the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (as a Fulbright Scholar). She earned her J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley, and an A.B. and B.S. in engineering from Stanford University, with distinction and honors.

Colleen Chien

Photo: Joanne H. Lee

Santa Clara Law Professor Colleen Chien focuses her scholarship on domestic and international patent law and policy issues, and she has already played an important role in helping to formulate public policy on intellectual property and innovation, privacy, open government, and civil liberties.