July 25, 2024


The value of truth

Cross-disciplinary scholar Colleen Chien ’02 joins Berkeley Regulation faculty

8 min read
Cross-disciplinary scholar Colleen Chien ’02 joins Berkeley Regulation faculty

By Gwyneth K. Shaw

Cross-disciplinary scholar Colleen Chien ’02 joins Berkeley Regulation faculty
Professor Colleen Chien

Colleen Chien ’02, a cross-disciplinary scholar whose research spans innovation, mental residence, and the criminal justice system, has just joined the Berkeley Regulation college — the school’s ninth seek the services of this yr. 

Chien was a professor at Santa Clara University Faculty of Regulation, a member of the Biden-Harris transition group, and has worked as a senior advisor on IP problems in the Obama White House, the U.S. Division of Commerce, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Place of work, wherever she at present serves as a Marion Croak Distinguished Scholar. 

A widely-cited IP scholar, Chien is the Berkeley Heart for Legislation & Technology’s (BCLT) most recent college co-director. She’s regarded for her in-depth empirical reports of patent litigation, patent-assertion entities — a term she coined — and the secondary market place for patents. In current a long time, she has also explored a section of the legal justice realm, focusing on the “second opportunity gap” amongst individuals eligible for and receiving aid from contact with the criminal justice process.

She also started and directs two grant-funded analysis initiatives: the Innovator Variety Pilots Initiative, which makes use of proof to boost inclusion in innovation, and the Paper Prisons Initiative, which combines details science and legislation to address and advance financial and racial justice by research on the next probability gap.

A university student in BCLT’s early times, Chien is thrilled to be back, especially presented the newer initiatives at the legislation college and broader university, which include the Criminal Legislation & Justice Center and the College or university of Computing, Facts Science, and Culture (CDSS). 

Listen to Chien chat about her scholarship and advocacy assignments in this episode of “Berkeley Legislation Voices Have,” our podcast about our exceptional faculty, learners, and personnel. 

“To be capable to function with folks that I have so lengthy admired, and who’ve built this kind of an influence in that discipline, is truly humbling,” she says. “It’s also an exciting obstacle to work to assure that the institution carries on to be at the forefront of advancing legal training, engineering regulation and policy, and the community interest.” 

In the spring semester, she’ll instruct The Regulation and Governance of Synthetic Intelligence and co-instruct the Law and Technology Colloquium with Professor Tejas N. Narechania. 

Chien’s arrival caps a banner selecting yr for the college, which welcomed eight new scholars in excess of the summer months. She’s the 35th professor to be part of Berkeley Regulation due to the fact 2017, when Dean Erwin Chemerinsky was hired. 

“I am delighted that Colleen Chien has joined our faculty,” Chemerinsky says. “As a primary qualified in patent and mental assets legislation she strengthens our school which is presently the very best in the place in this region.”

A passion for details

Chien earned a B.A. and B.S. from Stanford College and labored at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an undergraduate. 

“I’ve been fascinated since substantial university in the assure of science, technological innovation, and knowledge to improve the human ailment and residing expectations for many individuals,” she says. “Originally, I imagined the best way to contribute was to be an engineer or scientist, any person basically on the forefront of discovery.”

What she discovered at NASA and in other places is that inventing one thing handy doesn’t promise that people today adopt it. A person illustration Chien gives is the compact fluorescent light bulb, which experienced a rocky rollout regardless of currently being a massive vitality saver about common bulbs.

Group posing with Colleen Chien
Chien (considerably correct) with Aaron Perzanowski ’06, Nicole Ozer ’03, Tara Wheatland ’06, and Jason Schultz ’00 — all mentored by Professor Pamela Samuelson — at a modern celebration celebrating Samuelson’s illustrious career.

“I started to see how pivotal the purpose of legislation and policy was in making certain that tech essentially achieves its assure,” she claims. This lesson was driven household even much more when she was at Berkeley Law during the height of the AIDS crisis, and drug organizations were being suing South Africa to block HIV individuals from getting obtain to antiretroviral medications — a situation in which then-viewing Professor Frederick Abbott LL.M. ’89 was included. This publicity led Chien to generate a paper that turned into an article in the Berkeley Technological know-how Law Journal (BTLJ) that has been cited over 300 situations.

“I understood that to truly be certain that technologies achieves its probable, you have to have good policymakers who are equipped to equilibrium the pursuits at stake and craft workable, evidence-driven insurance policies with the enter of technologists and researchers,” she suggests. “That’s what introduced me into the regulation, and plan that is knowledgeable by science and that aids science and facts achieve its assure has been my North Star in terms of operate.”

As a Berkeley Law student, she was a member of BTLJ and the Asian Regulation Caucus, served on the board of the Asian Pacific American Legislation College student Affiliation and Boalt.org — then a scholar-led public curiosity engineering team — and worked at the East Bay Group Legislation Center, in which she drafted a prosperous asylum petition. She was hooked by the lifetime-altering prospects of authorized perform. 

“Those empowering encounters in regulation university seriously aided me have the confidence to be able to move in diverse realms, which normally is complicated. At times when we never really feel like an professional, we wait,” Chien states. “A large amount of momentum has grown from that work.”

A plan translator

She labored at Fenwick & West in advance of moving into academia in 2007. Both of those at Santa Clara and in her governing administration function, Chien says she’s been drawn to sites in which she felt she could make change. In Washington, that took the sort of supporting advocates and lawmakers comprehend the fast advancing systems that more and more form our globe.  

“That’s a spot where by I tried to be a translator,” she states. “There’s a expressing in the White Home that ‘some folks like to admire the difficulty.’ I never want to be just one of them. Public servants have the privilege of doing work to consider to genuinely address a dilemma, and ensure that you’re not just passing guidelines, you’re enacting things that will basically land — that folks are basically benefiting for the reason that of operate that you have place into motion. 

“One major theme in my work is that tips by themselves, even even though they can be conceived of and incubated in an educational setting, have to have to be of the entire world and merged with lived working experience to truly have the influence that academics want to have.” 

Berkeley Legislation, Chien provides, is an great position to marry deep considering with functional applications. 

Having been a college student who identified her individual position, both at the school and in the plan and educational entire world, Chien is impressed with today’s college students and their range of backgrounds and interests. 

“I enjoy the emphasis that faculty has put on producing leaders in all places of the law. It’s thrilling to operate with the learners and be aspect of their journey,” she states. “The school’s community mission is pretty aligned with my individual do the job in public assistance as well, functioning at the intersections of different institutional teams.”

From public curiosity legislation to community curiosity tech

In addition to BCLT’s deep roster of scholars, UC Berkeley’s broad investigation portfolio, such as CDSS, was a strong draw. Chien has already started to collaborate with the new university, which incorporates the departments of Studies and Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. A brief wander down the corridor or across campus is all it takes to come across researchers doing work on groundbreaking initiatives, she states.

“It’s an unparalleled option for somebody who’s interested in tech policy, as the leading courses in the globe are in this article,” Chien adds. “I’m fired up to sign up for the momentum that’s staying designed by the inauguration of the CDSS, and to assistance carve the future of general public curiosity know-how, in the exact way Berkeley has aided shape community interest law, amongst a formidable group of considered leaders and doers.”  

BCLT, which started with IP rock stars like Professors Peter S. Menell, Pamela Samuelson, and Robert Merges, is just as reducing-edge as it was at its 1995 founding, Chien states, and Berkeley Law’s technology legislation school has expanded to involve frontiers unimaginable in the times of the CD-ROM. 

“Now we have 21 or so co-administrators functioning in so quite a few distinct realms, and that reflects the development of the significance of tech and tech plan and tech lawmaking in American culture and the earth writ substantial,” she states. “Innovations like AI are genuinely presenting challenging thoughts in each individual realm of law — alongside with IP, there is criminal justice, privateness, social media regulation, and the checklist goes on. 

“Given the gravity of the challenges confronting how we use tech, its regulation, and all the intersections it has with national safety, financial development, and inclusion and inequality, as the footprint of technological innovation has grown, BCLT has developed with it.” 

As that trajectory spikes upward, Chien has worked tirelessly to widen the circle of voices and tips. The Innovator Variety Pilots Initiative springs from those people efforts, and is partnering with big firms and other individuals to take a look at programs that reach out for ideas past the best tier of inventors who are named on a patent. 

Chien’s newest paper on the matter, co-authored with a Stanford Legislation University scholar, has just been revealed in Science

“People who elevate their fingers aren’t usually the ones with the most effective concepts. A large amount of the most effective thoughts are from the silent people in the corner,” she claims. “If we can assume much more generally about how to satisfy men and women the place they are and try to have interaction them in the ground breaking course of action, that can not only boost inclusion in the economic system but also the allocation of expertise and social mobility.” 

The Innovator Variety Pilots initiative has by now started out collaborating with the UC Berkeley Intellectual House and Industrial Investigation Alliance, a environment chief in technological know-how transfer. 

“I’m searching forward to partaking with the Berkeley local community more in thinking about how we can use the science of variety and inclusion to progress the pathbreaking innovation becoming performed at Berkeley.”

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