For over 25 years, the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology (BCLT) has been the focal point at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law for teaching, research, conferences, and student activities on issues at the intersection of law and technology.
Berkeley has the largest law and tech faculty of any school and offers the most extensive curriculum of courses on intellectual property, privacy, and other tech-related areas of the law. “As the digital world expands and COVID-19 shows how technology is a lifeline, Berkeley Law continues to lead in helping our legal and policy spheres keep pace.” Berkeley Law Transcript, Spring 2020.
The mission of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology (BCLT) is to foster the beneficial and ethical advancement of technology by guiding the development of intellectual property law, information privacy law, and related areas of law and public policy as they interact with business, science, and technical innovation.
Established in 1995 with a focus on intellectual property, BCLT has expanded over the years to encompass privacy, cyber-crime and cyber-security, digital entertainment, biotech, telecommunications regulation, and many other areas of constitutional, regulatory, and business law that are affected by new technologies.
THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM IN LAW & TECHNOLOGY
BCLT’s curriculum enables Berkeley Law to attract the very best students and offer them the world’s most comprehensive instructional program in law and technology. The program features three essential components:
• Strong foundational courses taught by Berkeley Law faculty;
• Diverse, challenging and regularly updated advanced courses taught by leading faculty and practitioners;
• Closely supervised analytic writing- and research-oriented courses with a specific emphasis on law and technology issues.
The Center works closely with students on the Berkeley Technology Law Journal (BTLJ) in producing its Annual Review and Symposium issues, as well as the BCLT/BTLJ Law & Tech Lunch Speaker Series.
BCLT provides administrative and financial support for several other student groups related to law and technology, including Berkeley Technology Law Journal (BTLJ), Patent Law Society (PLS), boalt.org, Boalt Healthcare & Biotech Law Society (BHBLS), Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative (BERC@Boalt), Berkeley Information Privacy Law Association (BIPLA), Sports and Entertainment Law Society (SELS), Berkeley Consumer Advocacy and Protection Society (CAPS), Women in Tech Law (WiTL), Boalt Hall Space Law Society (BHSLS), and Universities Allied for Essential Medicine (UAEM). The Center also provides primary funding to Moot Court for its Intellectual Property Law, Technology Law, and Entertainment Law Competitions.
AN EMPHASIS ON COLLABORATION AND COMMUNITY
BCLT creates networking opportunities for academics and practitioners nationwide through its frequent roundtables and programs, including the IP Scholars Conference — which brings together about 175 intellectual property scholars from over 70 institutions to present their works-in-progress — and the Privacy Law Scholars Conference. BCLT takes advantage of its location near Silicon Valley by reaching out to Bay Area law firms and leading technology companies to forge a unique technology law community. This not only provides opportunities for world-class training of students interested in technology law, but also serves as a resource for lawyers, industry groups, and other affected parties as they grapple with the complex policy and legal issues arising in the wake of new developments in technology.
SUPPORTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF PUBLIC POLICY
BCLT plays a direct and important role in public policy debates and the education of public officials. BCLT faculty and fellows regularly testify at legislative hearings and advise public officials.
Providing Judicial Education
Since 1998, Professor Peter Menell and BCLT, in conjunction with the Federal Judicial Center (FJC), have organized an annual intellectual property education program for the federal judiciary. These one week training sessions have drawn more than 500 judges from across the country. In addition, Professor Menell has organized numerous advanced programs on patent law, copyright law, trademark law, cyber-law, and the interplay of IP and bankruptcy law for the FJC, as well as intellectual property presentations, panels, and symposia for various circuit court and district court conferences. All told, Professor Menell has organized more than 40 education programs for the federal judiciary. Building on this work, he co-authored the Patent Case Management Judicial Guide, an authoritative treatise on all aspects of patent case management. The Third Edition of the Patent Case Management Judicial Guide will be published in 2016. Professor Menell is currently working on analogous projects on copyright and trademark case management, as well as a treatise on patent enforcement at the International Trade Commission.
Forging International Connections
In today’s interconnected world, intellectual property, privacy and other technology law issues must be addressed on a global scale. Recognizing this, BCLT has worked collaboratively with international scholars, lawyers, entrepreneurs, public officials and students to discuss and dissect differences in the IP and regulatory regimes of various countries, and to confront important legal issues surrounding the international development of technology law. A key component of BCLT’s International programming is a focus on China. An October 2015 conference with the Renmin University IP Academy of Beijing, in collaboration with Loyola Law School of Los Angeles, brought together senior policymakers, academics and international practitioners to discuss the latest developments in US and Chinese IP Law and their impact on US and Chinese companies. BCLT has strong working relationships with a number of international universities and organizations, including Tel Aviv University, Israel and the Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam.