Thomas W. Sankey, P.C.


Thomas W. Sankey is the chair of the Intellectual Property Litigation division of Duane Morris' Trial Practice Group and the managing partner of the firm's Houston and Austin offices. He is also a member of the firm's Partners Board.

Mr. Sankey has extensive intellectual property and commercial litigation experience, focusing on patents, copyrights, trade secrets, unfair competition, employer/employee disputes and the Lanham Act. He has represented major telecommunications companies, online banking entities, inventors, electronic device companies, semiconductor companies, pharmaceuticals, banks, medical supply companies, medical R&D companies and others. He also is board certified in Civil Trial Law by The Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has been inducted into the American Board Of Trial Advocates (A.B.O.T.A.)

Mr. Sankey has represented inventors of digital media portfolios in patent infringement actions brought against numerous infringers, resulting in the recovery of tens of millions of dollars in judgments and settlements. In addition, he has obtained judgments in favor of the patent owners of coin-discrimination technology, including a finding of willful infringement. Mr. Sankey has represented a Japanese corporation in multiple infringement actions to enforce patents on DVD technology, resulting in the client obtaining tens of millions of dollars in settlements and judgments. He has also Litigated cases arising under the Architectural Work Copyright Protection Act (AWCPA). 

Mr. Sankey has handled trade secret cases in the medical device industry, auto parts industry, and oil and gas industry, as well as others. 

Mr. Sankey has handled appeals before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court as well as Texas Appeals Courts and the Texas Supreme Court.

Mr. Sankey represents clients in trademark and copyright disputes both before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in various federal district courts. He has tried numerous misappropriation of trade secret cases in both federal and state courts.

Mr. Sankey is a 1986 graduate of South Texas College of Law, where he was assistant technical editor of the South Texas Law Journal, and a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Tennessee.

Representative Matters

  • Obtained from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on behalf of an American multinational telecommunications corporation an affirmance of summary judgment of invalidity of a software patent with computer-implemented means-plus-function claim limitations because the patent failed to disclose corresponding algorithms.
  • Defended a major telecommunications corporation in various patent infringement disputes throughout the U.S.
  • Currently defending a major telecommunications company in patent infringement actions.
  • Currently defending a medical device company in a patent infringement case.
  • Obtained on behalf of New Strong Group Limited a decision from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, granting damages of attorney's fees plus interest on interpled funds, after the court determined the opposing parties acted in bad faith, without any colorable claim, and intentionally interfered with a contract by filing a lawsuit claiming an interest in the interpled funds.
  • Co-led a team staffed across multiple offices in obtaining a jury verdict of patent infringement on behalf of a Japanese corporation in an action for infringement of a patent directed to optical disc discrimination. Won the subsequent bench trial in the Eastern District of Texas on a claim of inequitable conduct raised by the defendant. The jury returned a $52 million verdict in favor of the client.
  • Brought an action in the Eastern District of Texas on behalf of a corporate patent holder against major cable and satellite TV providers for infringement of a patent directed to DVR technology, resulting in a multimillion-dollar settlement for the client.
  • Defended a Taiwanese manufacturer of circuit board architecture in a patent infringement action brought by a non-practicing entity (NPE) in the Eastern District of Texas. The case resulted in a settlement that the client found favorable.
  • Represented defendants in the Eastern District of Texas and the Northern District of California for DRAM semiconductor chips, DVD technology and network communication controls.
  • Defended major corporations in patent infringement actions involving encryption technology.
  • Defended several pharmaceutical companies in false marking cases.
  • Defended foreign manufacturers of motorcycle grips in patent infringement action.

Areas of Practice

  • Intellectual Property Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation


  • Texas


  • South Texas College of Law, J.D., 1986
    - Assistant Technical Editor, South Texas Law Journal
  • University of Tennessee, B.A., summa cum laude, 1983


  • Duane Morris LLP
    - Duane Morris Partners Board, 2017-present
    - Partner, 2008-present
  • Thompson & Knight LLP
    - Partner, 2006-2007
  • Sankey & Luck, LLP
    - Partner, 1995-2005
  • Boyer, Ewing & Fabio
    - Partner, 1990-1995
  • Looper, Reed & McGraw
    - Associate, 1986-1990

Professional Activities

  • National Association of Distinguished Counsel
  • American Board Of Trial Advocates (A.B.O.T.A.)
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Texas Young Lawyers Association
  • Houston Bar Association
  • Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists (TACTAS)
  • American Association for Justice

Honors and Awards

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, America's Top 100 Attorneys®

  • Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation

  • Million Dollar Verdict Club
  • AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®