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March 2017

Colleen V. Chien

Colleen V. Chien

Colleen Chien Awarded Young Scholar Medal

American Law Institute award honors outstanding early-career law professors who influence the law.

SCU Law Prof. Chien, who spent over a year as a White House tech adviser, was awarded Young Scholar Medal by American Law Institute

 SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 1, 2017 --Santa Clara University School of Law Associate Professor of Law Colleen V. Chien has been named a Young Scholar by The American Law Institute.  The Institute announced the winners of the award earlier today.  Professor Chien was named one of two recipients; the other is Daniel Schwarcz of University of Minnesota Law School. 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.

“I couldn’t be happier with our Young Scholar selections this year,” said the chair of the Young Scholars Medal Selection Committee, Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar of the California Supreme Court. “These two extraordinary professors have already had an impact on important legal issues.  Professor Chien’s work in intellectual property law has already helped shape governmental policy around innovation, and Professor Schwarcz’s research and writings on insurance law have contributed to important policy and legal reforms at both the state and federal levels.”

Professor 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 to 2015, 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 made have been adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court, in Congressional bills, at the US Patent and Trade Office, and by 32 states.

She 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 received 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.

About Santa Clara University School of Law
Santa Clara University School of Law, one of the nation’s most diverse law schools, is dedicated to educating lawyers who lead with a commitment to excellence, ethics, and social justice. Santa Clara Law offers students an academically rigorous program including certificates in high tech law, international law, public interest and social justice law, and privacy law, as well as numerous graduate and joint degree options. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara Law is nationally distinguished for its faculty engagement, preparation for practice, and top-ranked programs in intellectual property. For more information, see

About The American Law Institute
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. By participating in the Institute’s work, its distinguished members have the opportunity to influence the development of the law in both existing and emerging areas, to work with other eminent lawyers, judges, and academics, to give back to a profession to which they are deeply dedicated, and to contribute to the public good. For more information about The American Law Institute, visit

Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | | 408-554-5121





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