Andrew W. Torrance joined the KU Law faculty in 2005 and, in 2009, was named a Docking Faculty Scholar, a university-wide program established with a gift from the late Mrs. Meredith Docking to honor faculty members who have distinguished themselves in their early careers. He was also a 2009-10 Fellow in Law, Innovation and Growth at the Searle Center at Northwestern University Law School. In August of 2010, Torrance was invited by Google Inc., to give a Google TechTalk at Google's main Mountain View campus in California; Google posted his entire presentation, "The Patent Game: Experiments in the Cathedral of Law," on its YouTube Google TechTalk channel. He received his Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University in 1997 and is a 2000 graduate of Harvard Law School. He earned his Bachelor of Science from Queen's University in Canada. In 2003, he was named the Hrdy Visiting Professor of Conservation Biology at Harvard University and taught Biodiversity: Science, Policy, and Law at Harvard University from 1999 until his arrival at KU.
He practiced biotechnology patent law at Fish and 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. Next, he served as in-house patent counsel at Inverness Medical Innovations, a global biotechnology company with headquarters in Boston, and helped start Stirling Medical Innovations, a cardiac diagnostics biotechnology company based in Scotland. He has presented his research across the United States, as well as in Canada, Finland, Scotland, England, France and Germany. His articles have been published in journals such as the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review, the Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, and the Washington University Journal of Law and Policy. Several of his articles have been listed on SSRN (Social Science Research Network) Top Ten Lists. In the spring of 2009, Torrance was invited to present his research to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) at OECD Headquarters in Paris.
Since 2007, Torrance has run Biolaw: Law at the Frontiers of Biology, an annual conference that gathers leading scholars at KU Law to present their insights on the latest developments in biolaw. His interests in biology have led to research expeditions to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, Banks Island in the Canadian High Arctic, and the Caribbean islands of Saint Thomas, Saint John, Jost van Dyke and Tortola. He has served as chairman of the Scientific and Creative Board of the Darwin Project, a major biodiversity institution planned for downtown Boston, is a member of the board of East Wind Power, and has assisted the BioBricks Foundation (BBF).
Torrance's research interests include intellectual property, patent law, innovation law, biotechnology, biolaw, food and drug law, biodiversity law, climate change law, and international environmental law. He teaches classes in intellectual property law, patent law, food and drug law, and biodiversity law. He served as marshall at the law school's December 2008 hooding ceremony after being elected for the role by the graduating class.
Torrance was featured with Princeton geneticist Lee Silver in a Kansas Public Radio story about the emergence of biolaw as an academic field, was quoted in the Salina Journal on the subject of intellectual property protection of genetically modified crops, and was commissioned by the magazine BioIT World to analyze the ACLU's lawsuit to overturn Myriad Genetics' patents covering genetic tests for diagnosing susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancer. An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education referenced the Patent Game project that Torrance is collaborating on with William Tomlinson at the University of California-Irvine.
Recently, he has been quoted extensively in the Kansas City Star ("Patent lawyers give your big idea an edge"), the Chicago Lawyer ("Bringing predictability to the patent world"), the San Francisco Chronicle ("Patents' growing role in battle of mobile), and Dow Jones Newswires ("Biogen sues MS drug makers, citing Avonex patent"). The National Public Radio station KCUR broadcast an interview with Torrance ("Legal roadblocks to copyrighting natural remedies") on its program "KC Currents." Torrance was quoted in an ABC 49 News story about the Westboro Baptist Church being under fire for potential copyright infringement for its parody of the song "We Are the World."