By Jennifer Fan
Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development

The University of Washington School of Law is at the heart of one of the most vibrant innovation ecosystems in the United States. Anchored by Microsoft and Amazon — two of the largest tech companies in the world — there are 14,000 companies in the information and communication technology sector in Washington State.

Our faculty are working on cutting-edge initiatives at the intersection of law and technology on a daily basis and have deep relationships with those in this ecosystem. We not only contribute to the scholarly dialogue about the laws that are evolving in this area, but help to shape legislation as well. Here are a few highlights:

Professor Ryan Calo, a leading scholar in laws related to emerging technologies, is one of the co-founders of the premiere North American robotics law and policy conference, We Robot. This year the conference will be at UW Law Sept. 14-16. He is also a founding co-director of the interdisciplinary UW Tech Policy Lab, which aims to generate more inclusive tech policy (e.g., Telling Stories: On Culturally Responsive Artificial Intelligence), and the UW Center for an Informed Public, which resists strategic misinformation, promotes an informed society, and strengthens democratic discourse.

Professor Xuan-Thao Nguyen is an expert across a number of areas at the intersection of law and technology, including cryptocurrency, NFTs, the metaverse and technology transfer. She is a sought-after speaker in the international community for her expertise. Together with Professor Liz Porter, Professor Nguyen traveled to Vietnam over the summer to meet with high ranking administrators at seven universities. During her visit, she trained banking officials, judges, lawyers, and managers on fintech and spoke about cryptocurrency litigation. Professor Nguyen is also a prolific scholar. One of her recent works, “Blockchain Games and Disruptive Corporate Business Model,” will be published in the Stanford Journal of Blockchain Law and Policy next spring.

Professor Bob Gomulkiewicz, a noted expert in software law, explores the intersection between contracts and intellectual property in the creation and distribution of technology in his scholarship.

Professor Toshiko Takenaka is an internationally recognized scholar in comparative patents and her articles have been published in both Japanese and English. Her recent work highlights the differences between U.S. and Japanese inventorship standards in the biotechnology space.

UW Law faculty are also helping to shape laws related to technology in Washington State. Under the direction of Bill Covington, associate dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and, director of the Technology Law and Public Policy Clinic, students have written white papers that analyze legislative proposals and current laws in Washington State related to privacy (for example, consumer data and biometrics), cybersecurity preparedness, algorithmic regulations, the application of certain provisions of the American with Disabilities Act in public and private autonomous vehicle transportation services, autonomous vehicles, and law enforcement’s use of high technology in carrying out their duties. They have also looked at nationwide policy trends related to Connected and Automated Vehicles.

Under Interim Associate Dean Carla Wale’s leadership, the Gallagher Law Library is focusing on initiatives to democratize legal information through public interest technology, such as building a Washington legal information portal and implementing controlled digital lending which is at the intersection of technology, information and copyright. 

Given the ubiquity of law and technology, a number of our faculty in other scholarly disciplines have also written on the topic. As an example, Professor Steve Calandrillo has co-authored tech-related articles with his students, including one related to systemic bias and another on drones.

In my scholarship at the intersection of law, innovation and entrepreneurship, I have researched startup biases in the high tech context and the particular role that employees play in the high tech landscape. Professor Mary Fan, a noted criminal law expert, has written about big data in the context of police body cameras and the public interest. Professor Dongsheng Zang offers a comparative law perspective on cyberlaw in his latest article. Professor Michael Hatfield, has written articles on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity from a tax perspective.

These highlights provide only a snapshot of the ways that our faculty are influencing the conversation about the intersection of law and technology and the implications new innovations have for our society. We invite you to learn more about our faculty scholarship by perusing the list below and to join us at one of our many tech-related events!


Faculty Books & Scholarship

Labs and Clinics