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Drinker Biddle’s IP Practice Grows With Addition Of Thomas J. McWilliams as Partner

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Philadelphia, PA -- Thomas J. McWilliams today joins Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP’s Intellectual Property Practice Group as a partner, bringing significant and wide-ranging experience in sophisticated computer technology and complex business transactions. McWilliams, formerly a director at Gibbons P.C. in Philadelphia, is now part of an IP practice that began at Drinker Biddle in 1996 and has grown to more than 80 lawyers and professionals nationwide, one of the largest of its kind in a full-service U.S. law firm.

"We’re delighted that Tom is joining us," said Drinker Biddle Chairman Alfred W. Putnam, Jr. "He will help us provide an even greater level of service to clients needing great skills and depth of experience not only in the traditional areas of intellectual property such as patents and trademarks, but also in helping companies bring emerging technologies to the marketplace."

McWilliams, who has a background in electrical and industrial engineering, focuses his practice on helping a variety of large companies develop, manage and protect their intellectual property portfolios, as well as obtaining investment and joint venture partners for emerging technologies. For example, he has led the development of a $150 million venture fund dedicated to defense-related technologies and he recently leveraged patents he obtained for a high-tech client to broker a $1.1 billion acquisition of that client based on its patent portfolio.

"Tom is a unique IP lawyer in that he is skilled and comfortable working with clients on both their technical issues and their business transactions," said Drinker Biddle partner Greg Lavorgna, who led the effort to bring McWilliams to the firm. "I’m impressed with Tom’s ability to work well with private equity firms and other investors to create and negotiate several complex and unique transactions involving IP assets," said Lavorgna, a current managing partner at Drinker Biddle who was the managing partner at Philadelphia IP boutique Seidel, Gonda, Lavorgna & Monaco, P.C., when it merged with Drinker Biddle in 2001.

In addition to experience with nanotechnology, and semiconductor and integrated circuit fabrication, McWilliams also has served clients in matters involving various aspects of telecommunications, content distribution, set top box and display technologies, electromagnetic sciences, computer software and business methods, and the mechanical and industrial arts. He also counsels international clients on U.S. and international patent practice, and he has participated as an in-house U.S. patent practitioner, and as a presenter on U.S. patent practice during stays in Japan and Russia.

"I’m excited to be joining an IP practice like Drinker Biddle’s that has the reach and depth to serve clients nationwide and internationally," said McWilliams. "I have several clients on the West Coast, and the firm’s California offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco are a significant resource and opportunity for those clients."

Prior to his time at Gibbons, McWilliams was a partner at Reed Smith LLP. He earned his law degree, with honors, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. While in law school, he spent time at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a legal assistant to the Deputy Commissioner.

McWilliams has a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Pennsylvania State University and spent time during his studies as the project leader of a NASA-funded Ground-Based Radiometry research project. He earned dual bachelor’s degrees, cum laude, from Wilkes University in electrical engineering and in industrial engineering and industrial business management.

McWilliams also is a frequent author and speaker on both U.S. and international intellectual property issues. More information on his publications and presentations can be found at

Drinker Biddle’s national IP practice focuses on helping clients identify, protect, enforce and maximize the value of their intellectual property assets as well as defend against threats to their portfolios and businesses. Its experienced lawyers and specialists help clients secure and enhance their competitive position in the marketplace, using intellectual property as an effective component of an overall successful business and legal strategy. The range of IP matters handled includes patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade dress, trade secrets, rights of publicity, domain names, media rights and other types of IP that have become crucial to myriad manufacturing and service industries.

The firm’s IP lawyers have worked in transactions and dispute resolutions, including litigation and arbitration, across a broad range of industries and technologies, including traditional and digital media, software and databases, consumer products, apparel, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, automotive technologies, energy technologies, agricultural equipment, web design and content, entertainment content and services, ink formulations, cameras, in-flight entertainment systems and electronic components.

Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, a national law firm with more than 680 lawyers in 12 offices, concentrates on providing clients with the best possible service in areas such as intellectual property, corporate and securities, commercial litigation, communications litigation, products liability and mass tort litigation, health care, employee benefits and executive compensation, labor and employment, real estate, corporate restructuring, government and regulatory affairs, environmental, insurance coverage, investment management, life insurance and annuities, and private client services. For more information, visit

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