Colleen Chien is an Edison Distinguished Scholar and an expert consultant at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), researching topics related to patents and patent law, and advising agency leaders on policy matters.
Professor Chien is a faculty member 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. She is a Faculty Scholar of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, and co-Director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University, and she was recently a part-time Senior Counselor to the Department of Commerce’s Office of General Counsel. From 2013-2015, she endured a cross-country commute to serve in the Obama White House as a Senior Advisor, Intellectual Property and Innovation, working on a broad range of patent, copyright, technology transfer, open innovation, and other issues. The privilege of public service was worth it.
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 Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and the USPTO on patent issues. She frequently lectures at national law conferences and has published several in-depth empirical studies, including on patent litigation, patent-assertion entities (PAEs) (a term she coined), the secondary market for patents, and, in the criminal justice realm, “paper prisons” and the second chance gap between those eligible for and receiving second chances. Professor Chien also served on the Biden-Harris Transition team.
Professor Chien’s work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, NPR’s Marketplace, and numerous other venues, and she is among the top 20-cited intellectual property and cyberlaw scholars in the United States. 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). In 2017, Professor Chien was awarded the prestigious American Law Institute’s Early Career Medal. She has also received the Intellectual Property Vanguard Award and has been named an Eric Yamamoto Emerging Scholar, a National Law Journal Tech Trailblazer, a Tech Law Leader, 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 Fellow of the Stanford Computational Policy Lab, and an advisor to ClearAccessIP, an artificial intelligence-driven patent analytics and enterprise software firm.
Professor Chien graduated from Stanford University (Engineering) and Berkeley Law School and is a proud Oakland resident along with her husband and their two sons.