Thomas C. Wright // Partner

A good trial lawyer educates a jury on the issues before them, and like a favorite teacher, does it without making it seem like a chore. Tom Wright is a trial lawyer that spent a lot of time in front of a classroom (and in the lab) before becoming a lawyer.  Tom has a Ph.D. in chemistry and is a former Professor of Chemistry.  He has taught at the Austin and Arlington campuses of the University of Texas, as well as a stint at the Imperial College of Science and Technology of the University of London where he was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship by Prof. Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Tom has presented invited lectures at universities across the United States and in Europe.

 

Tom’s practice involves intellectual property disputes, e.g. patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, and he has the demonstrated ability to take complex issues of technology and law and express them in a way that allows those unfamiliar with either to feel at ease. In addition to representing clients of Cunningham Swaim, Tom frequently serves as local counsel for parties and law firms from other areas of Texas and around the country.  In addition to his work in court, Tom also handles post grant proceedings, i.e. inter-partes review and covered business method review, at the Patent Trial and Appeals Board at the USPTO.  Tom also advises clients on the strategic protection and monetization of intellectual property rights through acquisition, licensing and other transactions.

 

Practice Areas

  • Patent litigation
  • Trademark and trade dress litigation
  • Copyright litigation
  • Trade secret litigation
  • Post-Grant proceedings before the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board
  • Counseling regarding strategic protection of IP rights and their enforcement
  • Intellectual property licensing

 

Representative Experience

Tom represents clients on both sides of the docket in cases involving a wide range of technologies and subject matter. His experience includes:

  • Obtained a $16.8 million dollar judgment for plaintiff-inventor in patent infringement case involving camshaft phasers for internal combustion engines. Melchior v. Hilite International, Northern District of Texas.
  • Obtained a $5.9 million judgment against a Fortune 500 company in trade dress case involving color marks and product configuration of plumbing support products. Jury finding of willful infringement. Clearline v Cooper Indus., Southern District of Texas.
  • Obtained summary judgment for defendant in copyright infringement case involving architectural drawings, i.e. house plans. Briefed and argued the appeal of the case to the Fourth Circuit, which affirmed the trial court judgment. Building Graphics, Inc. v. Lennar Corp, et al., 866 F.Supp.2d 530 (W.D.N.C. 2011); 708 F.3d 573 (4th Cir. 2013).
  • Obtained a judgment on the pleadings for Spirit Airlines that the patents asserted against it were invalid for being directed to unpatentable subject matter. Loyalty Conversion Systems Corp. v. American Airlines, et. al., — F.Supp.3d — (Sept. 2, 2014, Eastern District of Texas).
  • Represented plaintiff in trial of patent infringement and trade secret case involving claims of misappropriation of infrared camera and “night vision” technology Raytheon Co. v Indigo Systems and FLIR Systems, Inc., 688 F.3d 1311 (Fed. Cir. 2012).
  • Represented defendant in patent infringement case involving roadside barriers and crash cushions. Obtained summary judgment of non-infringement. Kothmann Enterprises, Inc. v Trinity Indus., Inc., 394 F.Supp.2d 923 (S.D.Tex. 2005).
  • Represented plaintiff in patent infringement case involving proprietary animal enclosure flooring. Southwest Agri-Plastics, Inc. v. Hog Slat, Inc., 2010 WL 711811 (N.D. Tex. 2010)
  • Represented plaintiff in copyright infringement case relating to imaging software for use with Microsoft Windows. Global 360 v Spittin’ Image Software, Inc., 2005 WL 2179130 (N.D. Tex. 2005).
  • Represented multiple national homebuilders in patent infringement, trade secret and antitrust case. OLA, LLC v Builder Homesite, Inc. et al, 661 F.Supp2d 668 (E.D. Tex. 2009).
  • Represented plaintiffs in multiple cyber-squatting case involving “typo-squatting” of the client’s domain name. For example, Lennar Pacific Properties Mgmnt., Inc. v Dauben, Inc., 2007 WL 23340487 (N.D. Tex 2007).
  • Represented defendant in patent infringement case involving nutritional supplements. Nutrition 21, LLC v. General Nutrition Corp., 2006 WL 2385297 (E.D. Tex. 2006).
  • Represented plaintiff in multiple patent and trademark infringement actions on behalf of the manufacturer of “wheel-in-the-heel” footwear. See for example, Heeling Sport Ltd. v U.S. Furong Int’l, Inc., et al., 319 Fed. Appx. 905 (Fed. Cir. 2009).
  • Represented defendant Spirit Airlines in patent infringement action involving lightning detection equipment.
  • Represented plaintiff in patent infringement case involving an interbody cage for use in spinal fusion.
  • Represented Nintendo in patent infringement case involving motion sensing devices.
  • Represented plaintiff-inventors in patent infringement cases involving electronic picture frames.
  • Represented defendant in patent infringement case involving multi-level WIFI networks.
  • Represented defendant in patent infringement case involving method for inter-conversion of loyalty, e.g. frequent flyer, points.
  • Represented plaintiff in trade secret theft and copyright infringement case involving high mast lighting and lowering devices.
  • Represented plaintiff in multiple trade secret misappropriation actions involving chemical formulas and compositions in both federal and state court
  • Represented plaintiff in patent infringement case involving software and methods for selling ticket options to sporting events.
  • Represented defendant in patent infringement case representing AT&T involving web-based sales systems and methods.
  • Represented plaintiff in copyright infringement action involving sales catalogs describing rare coins and antiquities.
  • Represented defendant Millennium Petrochemicals against Celanese in a patent infringement case involving a method using a homogenous catalyst to manufacturing acetic acid
  • Represented defendant in copyright and trademark infringement case involving the resale and refurbishment of integrated circuitry for use in telecommunications switch gear.
  • Represented plaintiff in patent infringement case involving “tipping bucket” water park feature.
  • Represented plaintiff in patent infringement case involving surveillance camera equipment and monitoring systems.
  • Represented owners of works in copyright infringement disputes involving ownership of studio recording of The Doors and a replica of the Heisman Trophy.

 

Representative Clients

  • Raytheon Company
  • L-3 Communications
  • Celanese Corporation
  • AT&T
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Omni Hotels
  • GNC Corporation
  • National Instruments
  • Clearline Corporation
  • Allvoice
  • Southwest Agri-Plastics
  • Dave & Buster’s
  • The Southern Company
  • Heeling Sports Limited aka Heelys

 

Professional Affiliations

  • State Bar of Texas
  • Dallas Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
    • Member of Chemical Practice Committee
    • Member of Patent Litigation Committee
  • American Chemical Society
  • New York Academy of Sciences
  • Sigma Xi Research Honor Society

 

Admitted to Practice

  • Texas State Courts
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • All United States Federal District Courts in Texas
  • United States District Court for the District of Colorado
  • United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth, Fourth and Federal Circuits
  • United States Patent & Trademark Office as a Registered Patent Attorney

 

Education

  • J.D., University of Texas at Austin (2000)
    • Managing Editor, Texas Intellectual Property Law Journal
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London (1984-86)
  • Ph.D. in Organometallic Chemistry/Materials Science, University of Texas at Austin (1984)
  • B.S. in Chemistry, University of Texas at Austin (1981)
    • Robert A. Welch Foundation Undergraduate Scholar

 

Honors

  • Rated AV Preeminent, the highest possible ranking, by Martindale Hubbel
  • Recognized as a “Rising Star” in the areas of Intellectual Property and Intellectual Property Litigation in 2005 by Thomson Reuters