Kara Swanson is an accomplished scholar, legal practitioner and scientist whose
chief interests are in intellectual property law, gender and sexuality, the history of
science, the history of medicine and technology and the history of law. 

Before coming to Northeastern, Professor Swanson was the Berger-Howe Visiting Fellow in
Legal History at Harvard Law School and Associate Professor at Earle Mack School of Law,
Drexel University. 

Professor Swanson’s publications include “The Emergence of the Professional Patent
Practitioner,” in Technology and Culture, “Biotech in Court: A Legal Lesson on the Unity
of Science,” in Social Studies of Science, and a forthcoming chapter in “Contexts of
Invention: Creative Production in Legal and Cultural Perspective,” M. Woodmansee, M.
Biagioli and P. Jaszi, editors. 

Trained as a biochemist and molecular biologist at Yale University and UC-Berkeley,
Professor Swanson was a published research scientist before earning her JD at
UC-Berkeley, and her Ph.D. in the history of science at Harvard University. 

As an associate at Dechert LLP, she maintained an intellectual property law practice,
where she was involved in drafting and negotiating technology licenses, advising biotech
and computer services and software start-ups on protection of their inventions and
drafting and prosecuting patents. 

She clerked for Judge Cecil F. Poole, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge William
H. Orrick, Jr., U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. 



The end of men, again, School of Law Faculty Publications (2013)

The current attention to the “end of men” is occurring as men’s role as biological...



The Birth of the Sperm Bank, The Annals of Iowa (2012)


Adultery by doctor: artificial insemination, 1890–1945, Chicago-Kent Law Review (2012)

In 1945, American judges decided the first court cases involving assisted conception. The challenges posed...



Contributions to Books


Authoring an Invention: Patent Production in the Nineteenth-Century United States, Making and Unmaking Intellectual Property: Creative Production in Legal and Cultural Perspective, edited by Mario Biagioli, Peter Jaszi, Martha Woodmansee (2011)

In modern patent systems, an invention achieves legal existence as a text, the official words...


Popular Press