Sean O'Connor

  • Boeing International Professor of Law
  • Professor of Law


Phone: (206) 543-7491

Sean O'Connor


B.A. 1988, University of Massachusetts M.A. 1995, Arizona State University J.D. 1998, Stanford University

Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Expertise

Business and Corporate Law — Contracts — Copyright Law — Entrepreneurial Law — Marijuana Law — Music Law — Patent Law — Securities — Social Media / Digital Media Law — Technology Transfer — Trademark Law — Venture Capital

Recent Courses

LAW A 501 Contracts
LAW P 520 Intellectual Property Theory Seminar
LAW P 536 Music Law & Policy

Professor O'Connor's research focuses on intellectual property and business law with regard to start-ups and commercializing technology and arts innovation. His teaching and law practice specialize in transactions and the strategic role of the general counsel. Professor O'Connor received his law degree from Stanford Law School, a master's degree in philosophy from Arizona State University, and a bachelor's degree in history from University of Massachusetts. He has published numerous articles and book chapters and lectures frequently around the world. Professor O'Connor's award-winning research has been funded by the National Academies of Science, International Intellectual Property Institute, Kauffman Foundation, and the Center for Protection of Intellectual Property (George Mason University), in many cases through competitive fellowships. He is currently working on Method+ology and the Means of Innovation to be published by Oxford University Press. 

Since joining the UW Law faculty in 2003, he has served in a number of Law School and university-wide leadership positions, including designing and launching the ground-breaking Entrepreneurial Law Clinic. He has also been a Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley, George Washington University, Katholieke Universitat (Leuven BELGIUM), and Hanken School of Economics (Helsinki FINLAND).

Peer Reviewed Journals & Law Reviews

Books or Treatises

  • Handbook on Music Law & Policy (Sean O’Connor ed., forthcoming Oxford University Press 2019).
  • Patricia Kuszler, Kathryn Battuello & Sean O'Connor, Genetic Technologies and the Law: Cases and Materials (Carolina Academic Press 2007). 1007 pages.

Book Chapters

Professional Publications

News Media

Other Publications

  • Moderator, "The Creative Industries: The Value of Copyright", Back to Basics: The Role of Property in the IP System, National Law University (March 22, 2018)
  • Panelist, "Why Intellectual Property Is a Property Right and Why It Matters", Back to Basics: The Role of Property in the IP System, National Law University (March 22, 2018)
  • Speaker, "Preemption, Abstract Ideas, and Digitalisation", Intellectual Property and Digitalization--Challenges for Intellectual Property Management, Center for International Intellectual Property Studies (May 4, 2017)
  • Speaker, "Blurred Lines: A Question of Social Justice in Copyright", with Shubha Ghosh, Lab to Market Webcast, New York State Science and Technology Law Center (October 19, 2016)
  • Speaker, "The Cannabis Law & Policy Project: Research & Goals", Marijuana Policy in Washington State: Moving Forward, University of Washington School of Law (June 14, 2016)
  • Speaker, "Importance of Moral Rights to Authors (speaker and panelist)", Authors, Attribution, and Integrity: Examining Moral Rights in the United States, U.S. Copyright Office and Center for Protection of Intellectual Property, George Mason University School of Law (April 18, 2016)
  • Speaker, "Lectures on legal issues in music, digital media, software, life sciences, and branding, as well as history and philosophical bases of intellectual property.", Visiting Professor Lecture Series, CREDIMI, Université de Bourgogne (March 29, 2016)
  • Speaker, "IP Enforcement in the Digital Environment: Lessons Learned from the U.S.", Intellectual Property Law for Business and Industry Training Course held by Court for judges, associate (affiliated) judges, public prosecutors, lawyers, IP owners, law professors, and law students., Central IP and International Trade Court (March 19, 2016)
  • Speaker, "Bayh-Dole Overview; IP Rights in Life Sciences Research: Who Owns the Medical Breakthroughs?", Annual Meeting, Emerging Trends in Technology Management breakout session, AUTM Asia (March 18, 2016)
  • Moderator, "Lesson Learnt from Technology Commercialization Promoting Law", Annual Meeting, AUTM Asia (March 17, 2016)
  • Speaker, "Cannabis and the Law", Guest Lecturer (via remote) to Marijuana: Biochemistry, Toxicology, Medical Benefits, and Legal Implications Seminar, Oregon State University, Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology (February 24, 2016)
  • Speaker, East Meets West: Asia Pacific IP Forum and WIPIP. Organizer. Planned and implemented the combination of two premier annual conferences. Asia Pacific IP Forum is the annual meeting for a consortium of leading Pacific Rim IP programs, while WIPIP is one of two leading U.S. IP academic annual works-in-progress meetings., UW Law (February 18, 2016)
  • Chair, Art Law Section, "Organized curated field trip of New York public and private art projects at Madison Square Park and the High Line; co-organized related joint section panel "Infraculture and Public-Private Partnerships: Legal Tools for Economic Recovery and Community Development" with chairs of Property Law Section and State and Local Government Law Section.", Annual Meeting, AALS (January 7, 2016)
  • Speaker, "Copyright as Incentive for Publication Not Creation", 5th Annual IP Scholars Roundtable, University of New Hampshire School of Law, Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property (November 6, 2015)
  • Panelist, "Presenting FDA aspects on panel, Competition in Emerging Cannabis Markets", 32nd Annual Antitrust & Consumer Protection Seminar, Washington State Bar Association (November 4, 2015)