Knobbe/Martens: Intellectual Property Law
Tom Cowan

Tom Cowan


At a Glance

  • J.D. University of Florida Levin College of Law
  • M.S. Biomedical Engineering, University of Florida
  • B.S. Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida

  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Professional Profile 

Tom is a senior associate in the San Diego office.  Serving clients worldwide, he counsels on overall IP strategy, 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.  Tom serves a broad range of clients, from solo inventors, startups and small businesses to mid-size and large corporations.  

Tom’s patent practice includes utility and design patent protection for a variety of technologies, including mechanical, medical, and aerospace innovations.  Example particular technologies include cardiac devices and implants, intracranial devices, upper and lower limb prosthetics and orthotics, mobile devices, software, control systems, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), high altitude balloons, automotive systems, industrial systems, semiconductor processing equipment, and more (see Additional Information for additional sample technologies).

Recent client successes include Millipede Inc., developer of a transcatheter annuloplasty ring for treating severe mitral regurgitation.  Tom helped prosecute Millipede’s patent portfolio and provided defensive patent diligence for its acquisition negotiations with Boston Scientific.  In Jan. 2018, Boston Scientific agreed to an investment and acquisition option with Millipede for $90,000,000.  In Dec. 2018, Boston Scientific exercised the acquisition option for an additional $450,000,000.  

Additional highlights include:

  • Named to IAM Strategy 300: The World’s Leading IP Strategists (2019) which “identifies the individuals who are leading the way in the development and implementation of strategies that maximize the value of IP portfolios” 
  • Named a “Top Author” in JD Supra’s 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards due to the high level of visibility and engagement he attained with readers in the medical device industry. 
  • 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 
  • Interned at NASA (aerodynamics) and was a mechanical engineer at Northrop Grumman, where he designed and tested complex structures and mechanisms for various spacecraft programs 
  • Holds a minor in Chinese and studied Chinese language and history at Shaanxi Normal University in Xian, China


  • University of Florida Levin College of Law (J.D. 2012), Certificate: Intellectual Property Law; Moot Court: Corporate and Securities Law; President: Intellectual Property and Technology Law Association
  • University of Florida (M.S. Biomedical Engineering 2012), Master's project: Risk of Hypoxia with Medical Air Low Flow Anesthesia
  • University of Florida (B.S. Aerospace Engineering 2005), Magna Cum Laude, Honors thesis: Attitude Dynamics and Orbital Lifetime Analysis of a Pico-Satellite with Deployed Ballute
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