Research Profile

Dr Ryan Whalen

Ryan Whalen’s research takes a data-driven approach to understanding the law and legal systems, with a particular focus on intellectual property law and innovation policy. This approach unites traditional doctrinal analyses with empirical techniques drawn from diverse fields including machine learning, natural language processing, network analysis, and data science.

His work has appeared in a wide variety of journals including the Northwestern University Law Review, the Yale Law Journal Forum, the Michigan State Law Review, and the Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society.

Ryan holds a BA(hons) from Saint Mary’s University (Canada), an MA from National Chengchi University (Taiwan), a JD from the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, and a PhD from Northwestern University. While at Northwestern, Ryan served as the editor-in-chief of the Northwestern University Law Review.

Ryan’s teaching includes classes on Intellectual Property and Information Technology, Patent Law, and Administrative Law.

Specialized Areas: Intellectual Property Law, Innovation Policy, Technology and Law, Computational Legal Studies

Representative Publications:

Common Law Evolution and Judicial Impact in the Age of Information, 8 Elon Law Review 3(2017) (with Brian Uzzi & Satyam Mukherjee).

Legal Networks: The Promises and Challenges of Legal Network Analyses, 2016 Michigan State Law Review 539 (2016).

Second Order Obviousness: How Information & Communication Technologies Facilitate Invention and Why the Law Should Care, 97 The Journal of the Patent & Trademark Office Society 597 (2015).

Judicial Gobbledygook: The Readability of Supreme Court Opinions, 125 Yale Law Journal Forum (2015).

Will the Agencies Ever Go Marching In? Public Rights in Federally-Funded Inventions, 109 Northwestern University Law Review (2015).

Bad Law Before it Goes Bad: Citation Networks and the Life Cycle of Overruled Precedent, Network Analysis in Law, Radboud Winkels ed., ESI Law, Science & Technology Series (2013).

The U.S. Government as an Interagency Network, 4 InterAgency Journal 69 (2013).

Modeling Annual Supreme Court Influence: The Role of Citation Practices and Judicial Tenure in Determining Precedent Network Growth, Complex Networks, A. Evuskoff et. al eds., Springer Verlag Studies in Computational Intelligence Series (2013).