David L. Cavanaugh


Chair, Post-Grant Patent Proceedings Group

Cavanaugh, David L.

David Cavanaugh has broad legal experience in industry and private practice and provides clients with strategic, business-focused counseling in the procurement, management and exploitation of their intellectual property. He has extensive experience in all aspects of intellectual property practice, including IP litigation, patent procurement, technology transfer and licensing, and due diligence for corporate transactions. Mr. Cavanaugh has developed and implemented intellectual property strategies suited for companies at all stages, from early startup phase to established business phase.

Since the implementation of the America Invents Act, Mr. Cavanaugh has been active in post-grant proceedings at the US Patent Office and was recently named by Patexia as one of the top five most active attorneys in inter partes review (IPR). He has filed petitions and represented patent owners in a variety of technologies and has been lead counsel or counsel of record on more than 120 inter partes review proceedings (IPR). As lead counsel he has presented at more than a dozen oral hearings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). He has also developed strategies for using IPRs as a vehicle toward settlement of related district court cases as well as developed strategies for joinder of parties. Mr. Cavanaugh has also represented patent owners in IPR proceedings and developed successful IPR strategies for patent owners. 

Along with inter partes reviews, Mr. Cavanaugh routinely develops strategies for other post-grant proceedings such as ex parte reexaminations and reissues. He has extensive experience in inter partes reexamination and interferences. These procedures can be used to develop comprehensive strategies using all the procedures the Patent Office provides. 

Mr. Cavanaugh is a sought-after speaker in the area of post-grant proceedings and specifically IPRs. He developed the post-grant class and curriculum for American University where he teaches patent litigation in the Spring semester and post-grant proceedings in the Summer session. 

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Cavanaugh was a senior patent counsel in the legal department of Boston Scientific Corporation, responsible for the intellectual property matters in the radiology, neurology, urology and endoscopy divisions. Prior to his work with Boston Scientific, Mr. Cavanaugh was associated with Wolf, Greenfield and Sacks in Boston, where he provided patent support to a variety of medical device clients. Mr. Cavanaugh also has been a patent examiner at the United States Patent Office, where he examined patent applications in a variety of technologies.

Mr. Cavanaugh received a JD from George Washington University, where he was selected to study at the Max-Plank-Institute for Comparative Patent Law in Munich. He earned his JCL at the Catholic University of America, his master's degree at Washington Theological Union and his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at Villanova University. He is a member of the Pi Tau Sigma National Mechanical Engineering Honor Society.

Honors & Awards

Publications & News


May 17, 2018

WilmerHale Partners and Practices Named Among Managing Intellectual Property's 2018 IP Stars

Managing Intellectual Property's 2018 IP Stars Handbook recognizes WilmerHale and 19 of its partners as leaders in the field. IP Stars identifies lawyers based on their knowledge, outcomes achieved for clients and unique strengths in the given practice area.

May 3, 2018

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2018 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers and Partners announced its rankings for the 2018 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, with WilmerHale listed among the nation's best in 50 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 95 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

April 24, 2018

Supreme Court Upholds IPRs but Strikes Down Partial PTAB Decisions in Two Important Patent Cases

The Supreme Court today decided two important cases involving patent rights and inter partes review at the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Both cases affirm the importance of Post-Grant Proceedings as a part of an Intellectual Property strategy and may portend changes to the processes at the PTO.

February 27, 2018

Three WilmerHale Attorneys Win Burton Award for Legal Writing

Partner David Cavanaugh, Counsel Joshua Stern and Senior Associate Kevin Yurkerwich have been honored with the Burton Foundation's 2018 Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Award.

February 13, 2018

WilmerHale Victorious on Behalf of Unified Patents Against Sportbrain at Patent Trial and Appeal Board

WilmerHale achieved a significant victory on behalf of Unified Patents, Inc., when the Patent Trial and Appeal Board issued its final written decision in Unified Patents Inc. v. Harry Heslop and Sportbrain Holdings, LLC, invalidating all claims of US Patent No. 7,454,002.

December 22, 2017

Trends in Automotive Technology: 2017 and the Road Ahead

An article by David Cavanaugh, Yung-Hoon (Sam) Ha, Natalie Hanlon Leh, Mike Silhasek and Todd Zubler, contributed to Law360, looks back at 2017 to describe how the legal landscape for automotive technology has been developing, particularly with respect to autonomous vehicles, and discusses where automotive technology and legal issues may be heading in 2018 and beyond.

November 20, 2017

Jumping Into the Deep End: Amendment Practice Post-Aqua Products

In this article published by Bloomberg Law's Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal, authors David Cavanaugh and Michael Smith provide context for issues discussed in the Aqua Products decision, identify potential implications for practitioners, and provide perspectives on next steps for the PTO on motion to amend practice.

November 17, 2017

Remands From the Federal Circuit Back to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board: Are They a “Redo” or Something More Limited?

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the reviewing court for the decisions issued by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, has handled over 1,000 appeals from the Board on patent trials authorized by the America Invents Act.

July 24, 2017

WilmerHale Recognized in IAM Patent 1000 2017

The firm and several of its partners are ranked in IAM Patent 1000 2017 – The World's Leading Patent Professionals.

June 9, 2017

The Legal 500 United States 2017 Recognizes 125 WilmerHale Lawyers Across 28 Practice Areas

The Legal 500 United States has released its 2017 rankings, recommending 125 WilmerHale lawyers—including 12 who are named to its elite “Leading Lawyers” list and two on its “Next Generation Lawyers” list—and 28 practice areas in its 11th edition.

Recent Highlights

PTAB Proceedings:

  • Achieved a significant victory for Unified Patents, Inc. when the PTAB held that a SportBrain Holdings LLC patent for fitness tracker technology was obvious, invalidating a patent that dozens of companies have been accused of infringing. The patent has been asserted in more than 140 cases, and more than a dozen of those were pending at the time of the board's decision.
  • Successfully invalidated all 371 claims of 10 patents asserted against a major consumer products company in one of the largest IPR proceedings ever brought, thereafter affirmed by the Federal Circuit on all issues. Prior to obtaining a stay of the underlying district court action, also obtained summary judgment of noninfringement of all of the client's commercial products.
  • Led a significant victory on behalf of Unified Patents, Inc. when the PTAB issued a final written decision invalidating all claims of US Patent 8,090,862, owned and asserted by Nonend Inventions, NV. The '862 Patent, which relates to streaming content over a network, has been asserted in multiple district court cases against a wide range of networking and consumer electronics companies. 
  • Obtained a significant victory for a Fortune 500 technology company when the Federal Circuit held that three patent claims that we had challenged in an IPR adverse to an acoustics company were unpatentable. The patents related to speaker designs that the acoustics company accused our client of infringing. 
  • Successfully invalidated all challenged claims for two Inter Partes Review proceedings (IPRs) before the US Patent Office's Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Board) for Permobil, a company that designs and manufactures wheelchairs. The Board issued Final Written Decisions declaring unpatentable all challenged claims of US Patent No. 8,408,343 (the '343 patent) and US Pat. No. 8,408,598 (the '598 patent).
  • Successfully invalidated all challenged claims in an IPR for Becton Dickinson & Company. The Board issued a Final Written Decision declaring unpatentable all challenged claims of US Patent No. 5,704,914 (the '914 patent). A settlement was reached on very favorable terms our client for the related district court case.
  • Developed successful strategy using IPRs to achieve a victory for Smith & Nephew in a district court litigation filed by Bonutti Skeletal Innovations, LLC which asserted six patents that cover joint repair techniques. Two IPRs were terminated soon after filing the IPR petition due to settlement on the issues related to those patents, three were terminated because the patent owner disclaimed the challenged claims and Smith & Nephew achieved a very favorable result in the sixth IPR. The remainder of the case settled on favorable terms to Smith & Nephew after the final written decision on the IPR for the sixth patent. 
  • Counsel of record for an IPR filed against US Patent number 6,331,415, (the Cabilly '415 patent). The Cabilly '415 patent issued in 2001 and was filed in 1983 and has been through extended prosecution, an interference, two reexamination proceedings (which were merged) and extensive litigation. The patented technology relates to the production of monoclonal antibodies.

Patent Portfolio Development:

  • Selected to develop patent portfolio by TransMedics—a Massachusetts-based medical device company created to address the need for more effective organ transplant technologies—since 2004, when the company sought corporate, litigation and IP advice. The company has developed the first commercial, portable warm blood perfusion system, or Organ Care System (OCS), which allows surgeons to reanimate hearts from people who have recently died. The portfolio includes both US and worldwide patent applications. 
  • Selected to develop patent portfolio by SevenOaks Biosystems (SevenOaks) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in the field of tissue grafting. The portfolio includes applications licensed to SevenOaks by MGH and technology developed by SevenOaks.  
  • Selected to be on the Patent Advisory Council for LaVit Life, a company which develops beverage dispensers for residential use. The Advisory Council aligns existing product development and the developing US and worldwide patent portfolio.

Professional Activities

Mr. Cavanaugh is a member of the Federal Circuit Bar Association Bench and Bar. He served on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council (MassMEDIC) for six years. He was recently selected by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center to serve as a peer reviewer for its Small Business Matching Grant (SBMG) Program, which promotes the life sciences within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In the recent past he has been a Board member of the New England Business and Technology Association. He has been a frequent guest lecturer at New England College of Law about patent law related topics.


Skip Navigation Links.


JCL, Catholic University of America, 2016

JD, George Washington University Law School, 1994

MA, Washington Theological Union, 1989

BME, Villanova University, 1986

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia


United States Patent and Trademark Office

Skip Navigation Links.