Tom is a Partner in the San Diego office and serves clients worldwide in aerospace, mechanical, and medical technologies. He counsels clients on overall IP strategy, performs IP audits, prosecutes patents and trademarks, conducts pre-litigation enforcement of IP rights, negotiates licenses, and conducts offensive and defensive diligence such as patentability and infringement studies.
As a former aerospace engineer with experience at NASA and Northrop Grumman, and holding a master’s degree in biomedical engineering, Tom’s legal services are supplemented with his advanced technical abilities in a wide range of inventive domains.
Tom has particular experience with assisting startups from the conceptual design phase through acquisition. One recent example is Millipede, Inc., developer of a heart valve annuloplasty device. Tom prosecuted their patent portfolio and provided defensive patent diligence, resulting in investments and an acquisition by Boston Scientific totaling $540,000,000.
Other example particular technologies in Tom’s patent experience include cardiac devices, intracranial sensors, prosthetics, aircraft and rockets, robotics, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), semiconductors, imaging and biosensors, high altitude balloons, control systems, thermal management systems, software, and more.
Additional highlights include:
- Keynote Speaker, “Patent Basics for the Aerospace Industry,” at the 2019 Space Foundation Space Commerce Workshop
- Former Mechanical engineer at Northrop Grumman, where he designed and tested complex structures and mechanisms for various spacecraft programs
- Interned at NASA Armstrong Space Center, Aerodynamics Branch, where he analyzed data for the Quiet Supersonic Platform
- Publications Coordinator for the firm’s medical device practice group, which leads the nation in medical device patent prosecution having obtained over 4,800 medical device patents since 1976 and 2,700 medical device patents since 2010
- Member of the firm’s pro bono committee and coordinates with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office’s regional patent pro bono program to assist indigent individuals and non-profit organizations
- Co-Chair of the Licensing Executives Society (LES) for the San Diego Chapter
- Holds a minor in Chinese and studied Chinese language and history at Shaanxi Normal University in Xian, China
Tom 是圣地亚哥办事处合伙人，主要面向全球航空航天、机械和医疗技术客户提供服务。身为 NASA 前资深航空工程师，Tom 善于针对航空航天及其他业务制定总体知识产权战略、执行知识产权审计、依法执行专利和商标、诉前强制执行知识产权、协商确定许可，以及推行专利性和侵权研究等攻守兼备的严格措施。
Tom 经验丰富，可协助初创企业完成从概念设计阶段到收购的整个过程。Millipede, Inc. 就是近期的一个典型例子 – Tom 检举专利组合并发起防御性专利尽职调查，最终 Boston Scientific 以总计 540,000,000 美元的价格完成投资和收购。
- 2019 年太空基金会太空商务研讨会“航空航天工业专利基础知识”主讲嘉宾
- Northrop Grumman 前机械工程师，在各种宇宙飞船计划中设计并测试复杂结构和机理
- 企业医疗器械业务部出版事务协调员。该业务部在医疗器械专利审查方面领先全国，自 1976 年至今已获得超过 4,800 项医疗器械专利，其中 2010 年以后获得的医疗器械专利高达 2,700 项
- 国际技术授权主管总会 (LES) 圣地亚哥分会联合主席
- 佛罗里达大学莱文法学院（法学博士，2012 年），证书：知识产权法；模拟法庭：公司法与证券法；会长：知识产权与技术法协会
- 佛罗里达大学（生物医学工程硕士，2012 年），硕士学位毕业课题设计：医用空气低流量麻醉引发的缺氧风险
- 佛罗里达大学（航空航天工程学士，2005 年），荣誉论文：配有减速气球的皮卫星姿态动力学和轨道寿命分析，取得全优成绩
- Named to Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch (2021) for Patent Law and Technology Law, which “recognizes lawyers who are earlier in their careers for their outstanding professional excellence in private practice.”
- Named to IAM Strategy 300: The World’s Leading IP Strategists (2019 and 2020) which “identifies the individuals who are leading the way in the development and implementation of strategies that maximize the value of IP portfolios”
- Named as “IP Stars - Rising Star” by Managing Intellectual Property (2018 and 2019)
- Named a “Top Author” by JD Supra Readers' Choice Awards, (2016) due to the high level of visibility and engagement attained with readers in the medical device industry
- Inventor of the “Inflate-A-Brake,” a system for de-orbiting small satellites to reduce space debris
Quoted in "Patents & Trade Secrets: Are You Protected?", Medical Plastics News North America (April/May/June 2020).
Co-author, An Innocent Abroad: A Successful Recovery of Trademark Rights in China, International Bar Association (IBA) Intellectual Property & Entertainment Law Committee Newsletter (May 2018)
Boston Scientific Announces Agreement for Investment & Acquisition Option with Transcatheter Annuloplasty Ring Developer Millipede, Inc., Medical Device Blog (February 2018)
FDA Exempts Numerous Medical Devices from 510(k) Premarket Notification Requirements, Knobbe Martens (August 2017)
Another Patent Law Win for Orange County-Based Masimo Corporation, Orange County Business Journal (November 2016)
Medical Device Outsourcing: Intellectual Property Considerations, Medical Design Briefs (October 1, 2016).
Contributor, 7 Intellectual Property Issues Startup Entrepreneurs Should Not Overlook, JD Supra Legal Perspectives (September 30, 2015).
Collaborative Innovation: intellectual property considerations, International Bar Association: Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law Newsletter (June 2016).
"Medical device development and collaboration," Intellectual Property Magazine (June 9, 2015).
Author, KnobbeMedical.com Blog
- Strategies for Protecting Intellectual Property (IP) on a Reduced Budget
- Trademarks Require “Use in Commerce” – But What If You Need Regulatory Approval Before Selling Your Medical Device?
- FDA Issues Guidance on "Abbreviated" and "Special" 510(K) Pathways
- Cook Medical Petitions for Inter Partes Review (IPR) of Medtronic “Jervis” Patent
- Medical Device Market Returns and Recent Industry Activity
- Boston Scientific Exercises Option to Acquire Transcatheter Annuloplasty Ring Developer Millipede Inc.
- Medical Device Connectivity Market Reported to Top $2.6 Billion by 2023
Author, Fashion & Beauty Blog
Speeches & Seminars
- “Learn to Protect Your IP on a Reduced Budget,” Licensing Executives Society (LES) & United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) (October 2020)
- “Learn to Protect Your IP on a Reduced Budget,” Licensing Executives Society (LES) & United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) (July 2020)
- "Strategies for Protecting Your Company’s Intellectual Property (IP) on a Reduced Budget," Association for Corporate Counsel (ACC) (May 2020)
- "Protecting Your Company’s IP on a Reduced Budget featuring Tom Cowan," University Lab Partners (ULP) Webinar (May 2020)
Keynote Speaker, "Patent Basics for the Aerospace Industry" Space Foundation Space Commerce Workshop at Aerospace Corp. (February 2019)
Presenter, "Developing and Enforcing Your Company's IP Rights in China (PRC)," Knobbe Martens Webinar (December 2018)
Presenter, "Intro to IP: Part 2: Some Basics of Patents," Knobbe Martens seminar, San Diego, CA (October 2016)
Presenter, "Intro to IP: Basics of Patents, Trademarks and Trade Secrets," Knobbe Martens seminar, San Diego, CA (July 2016)