Portrait of Dr Hyo Yoon Kang

Dr Hyo Yoon Kang

Reader in Law
Co-Convenor of LLM specialisation in Intellectual Property Law


Dr Kang's research interests are in intellectual property law, knowledge techniques, transmissions and practices, construction of values and valuation practices, novelty and creativity, and hermeneutic/post-hermeneutic approaches to the study of law. In her work she employs an internalist understanding of law and legal textuality whilst drawing on insights from anthropology, philosophy, social theory, historical epistemology, and science and technology studies.

Dr Kang has a cross-disciplinary training and professional background in law, history of sciences, and science and technology studies. Prior to joining Kent Law School, she was an Assistant Professor of Science Studies at the University of Lucerne, Switzerland and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, where she researched epistemic relations between scientific and legal classifications.

She earned her PhD in Law at the European University Institute, Florence, with a thesis which explored the implications of human gene patenting on the legal concept of human personhood. She holds an BSc in Government and Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science and also graduated there with a Distinction from the Masters of Laws (LLM) programme. She was a visiting research fellow at University of California at Berkeley (2002-3) and LSE (2013).

Research interests

Dr Kang is broadly interested in issues of intellectual and intangible properties and the transfer or representation of knowledge across different domains of meaning and jurisdictions.

  1. Legal Materiality: AHRC (UK Arts and Humanities Research Council) funded ' Legal Materiality' research network, together with Dr Sara Kendall. Grant period: 2017-2019.
    The Legal Materiality network is an interdisciplinary forum for exchange that foregrounds the material dimensions of law in light of the transformations affecting many aspects of law, challenging its concepts and practices, such as property or territory. It seeks to formulate novel approaches to understanding of law's changing materiality in light of specific matters, from textuality to diverse matters and media.
  2. Patents: Legal Text as Scientific Text
    Co-Principal investigator for Kent Law School acting as a partner university to European Research Council Advanced Grant on 'Patents as Scientific Information 1895-2020' (PASSIM).
    Lead and principal investigator of the ERC Advanced Grant: Professor Eva Hemmungs-Wirten, Linkoeping University.
    Co-Investigator at KLS: Dr Jose Bellido Other project partners: Nobel Museum and Boras University.
    Grant period: 2017-2022.
    Project: What Do Patents Document? Reading and Using Scientific Information in Legal Text.
    Dr Kang’s project will assess whether patent documents are regarded and used as scientific information by scientists themselves. The validity of the patent bargain is explored from the point of view of the intended users in order to ascertain scientists’ attitudes toward patents and whether they read and use patent information. Understanding patents as scientific information exposes an interstice between two different perceptions and function of patents: as public information and as legal documentation. The first approach towards patents assumes that the patent text is a documentary source, implying that the information contained in it has some kind of value beyond the legal text. The second approach regards the patent document as a legal registration document creating an intellectual property right. In this view, the invention is embodied by the patent document rather than being represented by it. A patent document may not have any scientific informational value. The tension between these two conceptions, one more sociological and the other more legal textual, will be explored in order to assess the ways and degrees in which a patent text indeed serves as scientific information for scientists today. 
  3. Patent Value/Valuation
    Monograph project on the value and valuation of patents as credit, commodity and asset.
    Related Conference: 'Evaluations: Cases, Experiments and Models as Tools of Appropriation and Valuation' sponsored by Swiss National Science Foundation, University of Lucerne and Birkbeck School of Law- (University of Lucerne, June 2014). Co-organised with Jose Bellido. 


Hyo's teaching responsibilities are mainly in the field of Intellectual Property Law at Undergraduate level and span across Contemporary Issues in Intellectual Property, Patent and Trade Mark Law and Intellectual Property and Industrial Practices at Postgraduate level.


  • Rebecca Gulbul, 'A critical reflection on the no-property rule in the human bodily material in the context of research biobanks.' Second supervisor. 2nd year. 
  • Jake Slosser, 'On the Use of Cognitive Linguistics to Explore Legal Categories: Judicial Interpretation of Digital and Privacy Laws in the EU'. Second supervisor. Completed.

Dr Kang is happy to supervise research on questions related to intellectual property in science, arts and music; creativity and novelty; practices and techniques of knowledge.


  • Dr Kang serves in the Organizing Committee of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities. 
  • She has acted as a reviewer to numerous law and science studies journals, academic presses, as well as national funding bodies. 
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