Colleen Chien

Colleen V. Chien

Professor of Law

Colleen Chien is Professor at Santa Clara University School of Law where she teaches, mentors students, and leads multi-disciplinary teams to conduct empirical research on patents, intellectual property, and the criminal justice system. From 2013-2015, she served in the Obama White House as the Senior Advisor on Intellectual Property and Innovation to the Chief Technology Officer, working on a broad range of patent, copyright, technology transfer, open innovation, and other issues. Professor Chien is internationally known for her research and writing on domestic and international patent law and policy issues. She has testified on multiple occasions before both houses of Congress, the US Patent and Trademark Office, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission and frequently lectures at national law conferences. She has published several in-depth empirical studies, including of patent prosecution in the US and abroad, patent examination trends, inequality and innovation, patent litigation, and patent-assertion entities (PAEs). In the realm of criminal justice, she is the founder of the Paper Prisons initiative (, a multi-disciplinary research initiative of over 20 collaborators, partners, and affiliates that uses research, technology tools, and empathy to boost the employment and other outcomes of people who have had contact with the criminal justice system by documenting and narrowing the “second chance gap,” between those eligible for and receiving second chance relief. In 2019, she was Justin D’Atri Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and a visiting Professor at the University of Chicago Law School.

Professor Chien is among the top 20-cited intellectual property and cyberlaw scholars in the US and is a recipient of the prestigious American Law Institute’s Early Career Medal, awarded every other year to one or two outstanding early-career law professors; the Intellectual Property Vanguard Award (by the California Bar Association) and the Eric Yamamoto Emerging Scholar award (by the Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Faculty); she has also been named one of the 50 Most Influential People in Intellectual Property in the World (by Intellectual Asset Magazine) and a Woman of Influence and a Tech Law Trailblazer (by the National Law Journal and the Recorder) for her work devising “the Second Chances and Empathy Hackathon” and work on executive agency policy pilots. Prior to entering academia, Professor Chien worked as an investigative journalist Fulbright Scholar, strategy consultant advising technology startups, and practicing patent lawyer (as an associate, then special counsel at Fenwick & West LLP in San Francisco primarily prosecuting patents). Professor Chien is the founder of several civic engagement projects, a Faculty Scholar of the Markkula Center for Ethics. She was previously a member of the Stanford Computational Policy Lab and has advised multiple patent data startups. Professor Chien graduated from Stanford with honors and degrees in Engineering and Science, Technology, and Society, and Berkeley Law School and is a proud Oakland resident along with her husband, their two sons, and pet rabbit.


J.D., Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley (founder of public interest technology group, board member of the Berkeley Asian Pacific American Law Student Association)

B.S. in Engineering, A.B. in Science, Technology, and Society, Stanford University (with Distinction and Honors)

Areas of Specialization

Patents, Empirical Studies of Intellectual Property, International Intellectual Property, International Trade Commission, Technology and Social Justice

Affiliations and Honors

Top 20 Most Cited Intellectual Property and Technology Law Professors (2013-present)

2022 Stanley H. Mervis Memorial Lecture

2021 Public Interest and Social Justice Law Recognition Award

2019 Tech Law Trailblazer

2018 Fellow, Stanford Computational Policy Lab

2017 Intellectual Property Vanguard Award

2017 Women in Tech Law Leader 

2017- 2019 IAM300 Top Intellectual Property Strategist 

2017 American Law Institute Early Career Medal

2015 Senior Visiting Research Scholar, Berkeley Center for Law and Technology

2013-2015 Senior Advisor, Intellectual Property and Innovation,  to the Chief Technology Officer of the White House

2012-2013 Eric Yamamoto Emerging Scholar

2013 Silicon Valley “Woman of Influence”

2012 Santa Clara Law Faculty Member of the Year (Awarded by LLM Students)

50 Most Influential People in the World in Intellectual Property

Fellow, Stanford School of Law Center for Law and the Biosciences, 2006