Silicon Flatirons Center
A Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship
at the University of Colorado
Initiatives & Projects
In addition to hosting a series of world class conferences and other events, Silicon Flatirons sponsors an array of initiatives to spur greater understanding of the information industries, influence policymaking in the field, and support the local technology community. In terms of research, Silicon Flatirons has taken the lead on a number of important initiatives, including leading important research into public safety communications and developing a software regulation clearinghouse. Silicon Flatirons also supports two clinics--the Technology Policy Law Clinic and the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic--that both give students a chance to develop their own skills as technology lawyers and also support sound policy making and entrepreneurship. On the entrepreneurship front, Silicon Flatirons is supporting a number of initiatives to position us as part of a local nerve center on entrepreneurship. Finally, Silicon Flatirons takes seriously its public mission, sponsoring the Institute of Regulatory Law and Economics (which supports state regulators in addressing cutting edge challenges), supporting Professor Weiser's work on Colorado's Innovation Council, and encouraging student interest in public service through the Dale Hatfield Scholars and Research Program.
Rapid developments in technology spur economic growth and empower consumers. Innovation policy and institutional design can stimulate or stunt technological change. Seated comfortably in Boulder, Colorado (an innovation hub), the Silicon Flatirons Center is well positioned to attract thoughtful policy leaders, legal and business professionals, and entrepreneurs to discuss the challenges and opportunities of various technology policy issues. The Center's recent initiatives in this area include an Innovation Policy conference, a Patent Conference, a Health IT conference, and roundtable discussions on Cybersecurity and cloud computing.
Something special is happening in Boulder's entrepreneurial circles, and the world is taking notice that Boulder is a world-class location to start a business. In support of this creative environment, Silicon Flatirons helps stitch together the entrepreneurial fabric for the area's software, telecommunications and Internet startup communities.
Information privacy has emerged as one of the most vital, contested, and important areas of debate in technology law and policy. Silicon Flatirons devotes a considerable amount of time and energy to this field, sponsoring an annual conference on information privacy that has become one of the most important venues for debate; housing scholars at the center of thought leadership on the topic; and training students to become the next generation of lawyers, advisors, and policymakers in the field.
Silicon Flatirons hosts a yearly patent conference focusing on competition policy and software patent challenges. With the US Patent Office opening up a branch office in Denver, Silicon Flatirons will look for promising areas where we can work together. Our Entrepreneurial Law Clinic also has made available a select number of spots for students interested in patent prosecution to develop real-world experience in this area.
Wireless networking technology is the fastest growing segment in the United States telecommunications market and holds out the promise of providing greater broadband competition, increased connectivity in rural areas, and increased communication density in developing nations that are not able to invest in wired infrastructure. But making this vision a reality entails overcoming three formidable barriers that can only be solved through careful interdisciplinary work that pulls together policy, electrical engineering, and computer science expertise.
Meeting the world's growing energy needs in a sustainable and secure fashion stands as one of the great challenges of the 21st century. The Energy Innovation Initiative at Colorado Law brings together leaders from government, law, finance, industry, and academia to address key aspects of this challenge and develop innovative approaches and solutions across a range of sectors. The Initiative builds on the law school's deep expertise in technology, entrepreneurship, energy and natural resources to support research and analysis on the critical policy, regulatory, and business aspects of the energy innovation challenge; training for students and professionals; and an ongoing series of public lectures, workshops, and conferences.
The Dale Hatfield Scholars and Research Program is designed to encourage student interest in public service by providing grants for summer internships in government or public interest positions. It has also been used to support the University of Colorado's New Models of Governance Project (which evaluates technology policy issues for policymakers). With the support of many generous benefactors, the Hatfield Program has become a flagship program at the University of Colorado and has already helped to bring several students to Washington, D.C. to take positions in government and non-profit organizations since it was established in 2006.
The Institute for Regulatory Law & Economics (IRLE) is sponsored by the University of Colorado Silicon Flatirons Center as a means of supporting thoughtful regulatory decision-making. In particular, the IRLE hosts an annual seminar for state public utility commissioners and staff as well as engages in state outreach activities. In so doing, it works with two related Silicon Flatirons initiatives-the Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic and the Dale Hatfield Scholars and Research Program.
The technological, economic, and social forces that have disrupted industries from publishing to entertainment to retail have started to put pressure on the legal profession as well. Tech-savvy start-up companies are competing to offer legal services in new, automated, more efficient ways. Traditional law firms have been seeing their revenues drop in the face of this new competition. Individuals and corporations are bringing more legal services in-house. All of these changes puts pressure on legal education, and law schools are considering reinvention to respond to these forces as law students struggle to adapt to changing times. The Silicon Flatirons Center is deeply engaged in the national and international conversation over the future of the legal profession and legal education. Through conferences, roundtables, white papers, and research, Silicon Flatirons hopes to convene and engage the brightest and most forward-looking thinkers on this topic. This work will touch on the problem from every angle, exa