Patent Law’s Perfect Storm


June 27, 2013


Andrew Torrance


University of Kansas


The last few years have witnessed historic developments in U.S. patent law. With its decisions in AMP v. Myriad, Mayo v. Prometheus, and Bilski v. Kappos, the Supreme Court capped a longstanding trend away from the patentability of the human body, human embryonic stem cells, human physiology, diagnosis of human disease, human thoughts, and, finally, human genes. The Court also trimmed and redefined the scope of patent rights in its recent EBay v. MercExchange, KSR v. Teleflex, Microsoft v. AT & T, Quanta v. LG, MedImmune v. Genentech, Roche v. Stanford, Kirtsaeng v. Wiley (a copyright case with implications for patent law), and FTC v. Actavis decisions. Design patents have emerged as powerful components of patent portfolios, particularly for the protection of computer-generated images. And, unprecedented scrutiny into the proper functioning, and even the basic justifications, of the patent system led Congress to pass the America Invents Act, the most fundamental set of patent reforms in sixty years. Professor Andrew W. Torrance will share his research on these important developments in patent law.


Andrew Torrance

Andrew W. Torrance is a Professor of Law at the University of Kansas, a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a Fellow of the Gruter Institute. He received his Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University in 1997 and is a 2000 graduate of Harvard Law School. In the past, Torrance has been the Hrdy Visiting Professor of Conservation Biology at Harvard University, a Docking Faculty Scholar at KU, a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Washington, and KU Faculty President. His articles have been published in journals such as the Yale Journal of Law and Technology, the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, and the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review, he has been invited to present his research by such institutions as Stanford Law School, Google, Genome Canada, the OECD, and the National Academies, and media coverage of his work has included the Financial Times, NPR, the Seattle Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Voice of Russia Radio. Torrance’s research interests include patent law, computer simulations of the law, empirical legal studies, biolaw, drug regulation, and biodiversity law.