Thomas W. Sankey


  • Thomas W. Sankey
  • Phone: +1 713 402 3924

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  • Duane Morris LLP
    1330 Post Oak Boulevard, Suite 800
    Houston, TX 77056-3166
  • Duane Morris LLP
    Las Cimas IV
    900 S. Capital of Texas Hwy, Suite 300
    Austin, TX 78746-5435

Thomas W. Sankey is the chair of Duane Morris’ Trial Practice Group’s Intellectual Property Litigation division and the managing partner of the firm's Houston office as well as Duane Morris' Texas operations. He is also a member of the firm's Partners Board and served on the firm's Strategic Planning Committee.

Mr. Sankey has extensive commercial and intellectual property trial experience, focusing on trade secrets, patents, copyrights, unfair competition, contract disputes, employer/employee disputes and the Lanham Act. He has represented clients in many industries including the telecommunications industry, the medical device industry, auto parts industry, oil and gas industry, as well as others, including online banking entities, inventors, electronic device companies, semiconductor companies, pharmaceuticals, banks, medical supply companies, medical R&D companies and others. Mr. Sankey 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 is a seasoned commercial trial lawyer with over 35 years of experience handling a wide variety of high-stakes disputes for defendants and plaintiffs, including many Fortune 500 companies.  He has tried more than 50 cases to verdict in trials or arbitration proceedings and has led hundreds more as lead counsel that have resolved successfully for his clients before trial.

Mr. Sankey has successfully handled lawsuits involving commercial matters, including trade secret and patent infringement cases around the country.

Mr. Sankey represents clients in disputes both in numerous state courts and in various federal district courts throughout the country.

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

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.

Areas of Practice

  • Trial
    - Commercial Litigation
    - Trade Secrets
  • Intellectual Property Litigation
    - Patents
    - Copyrights
    - Unfair Competition
    - Contract Disputes
    - Lanham Act

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 trade secret and 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.


  • Texas


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


  • Duane Morris LLP
    - Partner, 2008-present
    - Strategic Planning Committee, 2018-present
    - Duane Morris Partners Board, 2017-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®

Selected Publications

  • Quoted in "Patent Litigation Trends to Watch in 2020," Law360, January 1, 2020