Andrew W. Torrance is the Paul E. Wilson Distinguished Professor of Law and Associate Dean for International and Comparative Law at the University of Kansas School of Law, and a winner of a 2015 University Scholarly Achievement Award at the University of Kansas. He received his Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard University in 1997, J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2000, and Bachelor of Science from Queen’s University (Canada) in 1991. He joined the University of Kansas School of Law in 2005 as Associate Professor. In 2009, he was named a Docking Faculty Scholar, a university-wide program that honors faculty members who have distinguished themselves in their early careers, and in 2011 he was promoted to tenured Full Professor. He is a former Earl B. Shurtz Research Professor. At KU, Torrance served as a member of the Faculty and University Executive Councils (2010-2013), and as the elected President of the Faculty Senate (2012-2013).
Prior to his arrival at KU, Torrance taught at Harvard University as Eliot House Resident Tutor in Biology and Law (1993-2000), Tutor in Biology (1999-2005), and Hrdy Visiting Professor of Conservation Biology (2003). In addition, he has been a Fellow in Law, Innovation, and Growth at the Searle Center at Northwestern University Law School (2009-2010), a Manza Scholar at the DePaul University College of Law School (2010), a Visiting Professor at the University of Washington School of Law (2011-2012), a Visiting Distinguished Professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law (2014), and a Visiting Scholar in Behavioral and Policy Sciences at the MIT Sloan School of Management since 2011. In 2008, Torrance served as a policy advisor to presidential candidate Barack H. Obama on his Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Committee.
Torrance teaches and conducts research in patent law, intellectual property, innovation, food and drug regulation, biotechnology law, biodiversity law, biolaw, and empirical, experimental, and big data approaches to the law. Specific research foci include open, user, and collaborative innovation, design, and legal issues surrounding genes, biotechnology, genetically modified organisms, synthetic biology, conservation biology, and de-extinction.
Torrance has given more than 100 scholarly presentations at numerous universities, research organizations, governments, and intergovernmental agencies in seven countries. His invited presentations have included a Google TechTalk at Google’s main Mountain View campus in California (posted on the Google TechTalk channel as “The Patent Game: Experiments in the Cathedral of Law”), a research talk at Microsoft Research in Seattle, two speeches at the Organization for Cooperation and Development (“OECD”) at their Paris, France, headquarters, keynote addresses for Genome Canada and the European Policy for Intellectual Property (EPIP) annual conference, and two presentations to the National Academies in Washington, D.C. Torrance has published more than 25 scholarly works. His scholarship has appeared in such journals as the Yale Journal of Law and Technology, the Stanford Technology Law Review, the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review and the Berkeley Technology Law Journal. He was commissioned in 2012 to write a report for the National Academies. Torrance and his research have been regularly featured in the media, including NPR, Forbes, the Seattle Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Torrance practiced biotechnology patent law at Fish & Richardson PC, the world’s largest intellectual property law firm, after working as a summer associate at both Morrison & Foerster LLC and Fish & Richardson P.C. He served as in-house patent counsel at Inverness Medical Innovations, a global biotechnology company with headquarters in Boston, and as the first in-house patent counsel at Stirling Medical Innovations, a cardiac diagnostics biotechnology company based in Scotland. He is a board member at several companies and nonprofit organizations. Torrance founded the annual Biolaw Conference, and co-founded the leading annual patent conference, PatCon. Torrance led the intellectual property department at the Eli and Edythe Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard from August 2019 to December 2020.