Center for Innovation (C4i)

The Center for Innovation (C4i) at UC Hastings promotes data-driven law-making and seeks to empower policymakers and regulators to make informed, evidence-based decisions, particularly at the intersection of law and technology.

More than a think tank, C4i is an action tank invested in identifying implementable solutions to today’s problems. Research initiatives and classroom components are integral to the Center as it identifies and advances the knowledge, tools, and skills necessary to foster innovation in the practice and development of law and policy.

Three primary programs comprise the Center’s work: Startup Legal Garage, the Law & Medicine Initiative, and the Privacy and Technology Project. C4i is led by Professor Robin Feldman.

Programs

Startup Legal Garage

Providing an innovative win-win for law students and the startup community

Strong legal education requires real-world experiences that develops real-time problem-solving skills. Through the Startup Legal Garage (SLG), the Center for Innovation teaches students to become partners in enterprise and more than just “the lawyer in the room.”

This new approach to legal education brings startup deals from local tech and biotech entrepreneurs into the classroom, which allows faculty to harvest hypotheticals in real-time and makes the teaching of legal doctrine come alive. Top legal firms help supervise the projects pro bono so that students and entrepreneurs can learn and grow from their expertise. Startup Legal Garage also has a particular focus on supporting women entrepreneurs.

Since its founding in 2011 by Professor Robin Feldman, Startup Legal Garage has helped more than 250 tech companies and engaged more than 200 students thanks to the support of more than 150 supervising attorneys. The companies enrolled in the Startup Legal Garage program join SLG through partnerships with numerous incubators, including Y Combinator, Stanford Business School, QB3 (the incubator for UCSF, UC Berkeley, and UC Santa Cruz), Girls in Tech, and Black Founders.

SLG received an inaugural “Innovator Award” from American Lawyer publications, was honored by the Association of American Law Schools as one of its “Innovative & Other Outstanding Programs,” and has been featured in the American Bar Association Journal and other news outlets.

The Law & Medicine Initiative

Preserving access to life-saving drugs while protecting innovation, markets

The Law & Medicine Initiative pursues research in health care law and identifies how the system can be improved while protecting innovation and ensuring that markets are fair, efficient, and transparent. Health care law is a complex and opaque area of law that does not always yield level playing fields or outcomes that benefit the public interest. This complexity makes it challenging for policymakers and stakeholders to solve systsemic problems, such as high drug prices and patent law abuse.

The Law & Medicine Initiative serves as a legal watchdog to the health care industry’s maneuverings. It helps lawmakers and the public understand the complexities of health care law and potential threats to the public interest so that policymakers, regulators, and advocates can address problems in the system.

The Law & Medicine Initiative has illuminated critical health care law developments through research publications, Congressional testimony, and the creation of a large-scale database that identifies patent protection extensions for prescription drugs. The work has been cited extensively by Congress and regulatory agencies in the establishment of innovative policies. The list of all prescription drugs available on the market is known as “The Orange Book,”  and the Law & Medicine Initiative’s “Orange Book” database of prescription drug patent protections is publicly available here.

The Privacy and Technology Project (Privacy Project)

Applied research & implementable tools for protecting privacy through software development

The Privacy Project has adopted a technology-oriented approach to privacy that focuses on software developers. By targeting the technical side of the privacy equation, the Privacy Project develops tools with technologists for technologists. The project’s initiatives include conducting research to identify emerging challenges posed by new technology, developing new legal and information tools to support innovation while protecting consumer privacy, and operating as a knowledge and resource center for developers to stay abreast of changes in privacy policy discussion and regulations.

People

  •     Professor Robin Feldman — Director, Center for Innovation
  •     Professor Paul Belonick — Deputy Director, Center for Innovation; Director, Startup Legal Garage
  •     Kara Stein— Senior Research Fellow
  •    Judge Al Knoll (ret.) — Startup Legal Garage, Founding Advisor
  •    Ramy Alsaffar — Senior Data Scientist
  •    Nick Massoni — Program Manager
  •    Sophia Tao— Research Manager
  •    Christopher Kim — Research Manager
  •    David Toppelberg – Research Manager
  •    Colin Burke – Research Manager
  •    Ken Lucey-Cose – Web Developer
  •    Jennifer Roche – Communications Consultant

Contact

For general press questions, please contact Nicholas Massoni at massoninicholas@uchastings.edu.

Parking: Visitors may park at the UC Hastings Garage located at 376 Larkin Street, or in the Civic Center Garage located at 355 McAllister Street.

Location: 200 McAllister, San Francisco, CA. 94102, Suite 634A (6th Floor)

Funding

The Center for Innovation welcomes donations, grants, and other types of support for our programs and research. The Center cannot accept donations, grants, or other types of support that seek to limit or restrict our research or work. All financial supporters of the Center agree to give their funds as unrestricted gifts or restricted for particular areas of study, but with no right to review or control the results, direction, or publication of the research.*

The following list identifies all grants, contracts, and other sources of private or corporate funding for the Center received since Academic Year 2015-2016. No single person or corporate donor accounts for more than 25% of the Center’s budget. The majority of the Center’s funding comes from the University of California Hastings College of Law, charitable foundations, and court awards.

Donor Academic Year(s) Gift Amount
The Laura and John Arnold Foundation 2017-2021 $1,739,371 (two grants)
National Science Foundation 2017-2018 $387,324
Hackers/Founders 2016-2017 $50,000
The Honorable Al Knoll 2016-2017 $25,000
Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich, & Rosati 2017-2017 $6,000

Donors Who Have Made Contributions Under $5,000

  • Bakers Botts LLP
  • Bozevic, Field, & Francis LLP
  • Chip Robertson (Vice Chair of Board of Directors for UC Hastings)
  • Cooley LLP
  • Frank Busch (Kerr & Wagstaffe LLP)
  • Glen Van Ligten (Gunderson Dettmer LLP)
  • Hanson Bridgett LLP
  • Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Vern Norviel (Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati)

Note: All other funding comes from UC Hastings and court awards.

Our work is made possible because of this funding, and we are deeply grateful to our supporters for their contributions. For any questions related to the Center’s funding or if you would like to make a donation, please contact Professor Robin Feldman at feldmanr@uchastings.edu.

*Beginning in 2016, coinciding with the publication of the Open Letter on Ethical Norms in Intellectual Property Scholarship in the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, the Center has followed the protocols outlined within the article to remain transparent about its funding.