Robert Howell has taught in the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, since 1980. He has taught property in the first-year program since that time, but in 1985 he focused his research and primarily taught intellectual property law and policy. The impact of technological change led him to expand his specialization into telecommunications law and policy, and to private international law, initially its linkage with technology and intellectual property but, since 2003, across all dimensions of this subject. Professor Howell has also done research on and taught courses in managing intellectual property and he has presented summer term programs in intellectual property law, including the International Intellectual Property Summer Program from 2002 to 2007, alternating in venue between Victoria and Oxford.
Professor Howell has published nationally and internationally in his areas of specialization and has organized and participated in national and international conferences and seminars. In 1999 he co-authored (with Linda Vincent and Michael Manson) a national coursebook, Intellectual Property Law, Cases and Materials, and in 1998 and 2002 he completed Reports on Database Protection and Canadian Laws for Industry Canada and Canadian Heritage. In 2008, Professor Howell was appointed for a five-year term on the Board of the British Columbia Law Institute, the principal law reform entity in British Columbia.