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 conducts empirical research on innovation, 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, working on a broad range of patent, copyright, technology transfer, open innovation, and other issues. Professor Chien is nationally known for her research and publications on domestic and international patent law and policy issues. She has testified on multiple occasions before Congress, the DOJ, the FTC, and the US Patent and Trademark Office on patent issues, frequently lectures at national law conferences, and has published several in-depth empirical studies, including of patent litigation and patent-assertion entities (PAEs). In the realm of criminal justice, she is founder of the Paper Prisons initiative ( a research initiative that which works to document and narrow the second chance gap between those eligible for and receiving second chances (through early release, records clearing and re-infranchisement).

Professor Chien’s work has been featured in the Wall Street JournalNew York Times, NPR’s Marketplace, and numerous other venues and she is among the top 20-cited intellectual property and cyberlaw scholars in the US. Prior to entering academia, Professor Chien did stints as an investigative journalist, strategy consultant, and practicing lawyer (as an associate, then special counsel at Fenwick & West LLP in San Francisco). Professor Chien is a recipient of the American Law Institute’s Early Career Medal; the Intellectual Property Vanguard Award and the Eric Yamamoto Emerging Scholar award. She has been named a Tech Law Trailblazer (for her work founding “the Second Chances and Empathy Hackathon”), one of Silicon Valley’s “Women of Influence,” and one of the 50 Most Influential People in Intellectual Property in the world. She is the founder of several civic engagement projects, a Faculty Scholar of the Markkula Center for Ethics. Professor Chien graduated from Stanford (Engineering) and Berkeley Law Schools 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

A.B. and B.S. in Engineering, 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

2017 Intellectual Property Vanguard Award

Women in Tech Law Leader 2017

IAM300 Top Intellectual Property Strategist 2017

American Law Institute Early Career (“Young Scholars”) Medal, 2017

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

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