Colleen Chien

Colleen Chien

At Berkeley Law, Professor Colleen Chien teaches, mentors students, and conducts cross-disciplinary research on innovation, intellectual property, artificial intelligence, and the criminal justice system, with a focus on how technology, data, and innovation can be harnessed to achieve their potential for social benefit. Chien is also a Faculty Co-Director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, and for the past decade, has also had the honor of working part-time as a public servant, in the Obama White House as a Senior Advisor, Intellectual Property and Innovation and more recently on the Transition Team and senior counselor to the Department of Commerce and Marian Coak distinguished scholar at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Chien is known for her in-depth empirical studies of patent litigation, patent-assertion entities (PAEs) (a term that she coined), the secondary market for patents, and, in the criminal justice realm, on the “second chance” gap between those eligible for and receiving relief from the criminal justice system. She founded and directs two grant-funded research initiatives: the Innovator Diversity Pilots Initiative (, which develops rigorous evidence to boost inclusion in innovation, and the Paper Prisons Initiative (, which conducts research to address and advance economic and racial justice through empirical study of the second chance gap in expungement, drivers license suspensions policies, and the California Racial Justice Act. Prior to joining Berkeley, Chien was Professor of Law at Santa Clara University School of Law for a decade and a half; she also was a Justin D’Atri Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia University Law School and visiting professor at University of Chicago School of Law.

Chien is among the top 20-cited intellectual property and cyberlaw scholars in the US, and her work has been featured in numerous academic and mainstream venues. Chien is an awardee of the prestigious American Law Institute’s Early Career Medal; she also has received the Intellectual Property Vanguard Award, and has been named Eric Yamamoto Emerging Scholar, NLJ 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. Prior to entering academia, 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). She graduated from Stanford (Engineering) and Berkeley Law Schools and is a proud Oakland resident along with her husband and their two sons.

Guest Appearances
June 11, 2024

Results from the First Field Study of AI for Legal Aid

Legal tech researchers discuss their recent field study of generative artificial intelligence (AI) for legal aid on Talk Justice. Colleen Chien and Miriam Kim authored a paper on their research, “Generative AI...