It is often claimed that there is a ‘pacing gap’ between law and innovation: while the latter is forward-looking, law tends to be reactive and offer regulatory responses that do not always facilitate innovation. The relationship between law and innovation is far more complex than many would like to argue. This course analyzes how law engages with disruptive technologies and regulates innovative products and services. This interdisciplinary course aims to help students think outside the box of traditional legal principles and reflect upon the connection between law and innovation. In the digital age, it is increasingly important for lawyers to design legal solutions that are future-proof and fit within global sustainable standards.
This course starts with an introduction to the innovation process, the complexities of regulating both incremental and disruptive innovation, and the complexity of regulating fast-changing products and services. This introductory part of the course also includes a discussion of strategies to develop future-proof law and the interaction between the innovation principle and other principles. The second and third parts of the course draw on specific case studies to help students understand the interaction between regulatory instruments and innovation. The second part draws on the challenges of innovation in the financial sector and provides an overview of different approaches to regulatory innovation, namely regulatory sandboxes and regulatory experiments and innovation offices. The course will also delve into the concept of regulatory technology (‘RegTech’).The third part of the course will focus on the risks of innovation, risk regulation, and strategies to counsel startups and advise entrepreneurs. The course will end with the discussion of a case study on the regulation of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Students will be evaluated on the grounds of a written assignment (80%) where they will be asked to reflect upon the regulation of an innovative service. Active participation during classes will also be taken into account (20%).