Thomas G. Saunders


Saunders, Thomas G.

Tom Saunders' practice focuses on appellate and government and public policy litigation with a particular emphasis on intellectual property. He has extensive experience representing clients in patent and copyright cases and has built a reputation as a leading advocate in high-stakes litigation before the Federal Circuit and Supreme Court. He returned to the firm in 2008 after completing a clerkship for the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court. 

Mr. Saunders also has significant experience in civil litigation involving the government and quasi-governmental entities. He regularly advises clients on constitutional matters, questions of public policy and strategy, and administrative law.

Honors & Awards

Publications & News


June 22, 2016

The Legal 500 United States 2016 Recognizes 111 WilmerHale Lawyers Across 30 Practice Areas

The guide's rankings are based on a series of criteria, including client feedback, interviews with private practice lawyers, and its own research.

June 16, 2016

WilmerHale Selected to National Law Journal's IP Hot List for Fifth Consecutive Year

WilmerHale is one of only 15 firms chosen for this recognition this year, which honors firms who have “set the bar in intellectual property law, scoring big wins for clients.”

April 28, 2016

Thomas Saunders Named an Appellate Rising Star by Law360

WilmerHale Partner Thomas Saunders is one of only six attorneys nationwide named a 2016 Appellate Rising Star by Law360 and one among four WilmerHale partners selected to this year's overall list.

March 21, 2016

MIP Names WilmerHale Patent Contentious Firm of the Year and Natalie Hanlon Leh Colorado's Outstanding IP Litigator of the Year

In addition, the firm was recognized for its role in two “Milestone Cases of the Year:” Akamai Technologies v. Limelight Network (Fed. Circuit, August 2015), in which the firm argued on behalf of Akamai, and Authors Guild v. Google (Court of the Appeals for the Second Circuit, October 2015) in which the firm represented Google.

January 20, 2016

Law360 Selects WilmerHale as Appellate Practice Group of the Year for the Fifth Time

The firm's Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice has been recognized by Law360 as a Practice Group of the Year for the fifth time, showcasing some of the firm's significant victories during 2015.

December 3, 2015

Tom Saunders Recognized Among Law360’s Appellate MVPs of the Year

WilmerHale Partner Tom Saunders has been recognized by Law360 as a 2015 Appellate MVP of the Year.

May 13, 2014

Success at the Federal Circuit: WilmerHale Earns Five Victories in One Week

WilmerHale has just completed an extremely successful week at the Federal Circuit, receiving favorable decisions in five out of six patent cases concerning various legal issues.

January 23, 2014

Intel Corporation and Somaxon Pharmaceuticals Succeed at the Federal Circuit

Last week, WilmerHale won two appeals at the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit–one for client Somaxon Pharmaceuticals and one for client Intel Corporation.

June 17, 2013

Partner Thomas Saunders Discusses Myriad Supreme Court Decision in Bloomberg Webinar

WilmerHale Partner Thomas G. Saunders served as a guest panelist on a Bloomberg Law Webinar to assess the June 13, 2013, Supreme Court opinion in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics Inc.

March 15, 2013

Federal Circuit Reconsidering Claim Construction Standard of Review

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held in Cybor Corp. v. FAS Technologies, Inc., 138 F.3d 1448, 1451 (Fed. Cir. 1998), that “claim construction, as a purely legal issue, is subject to de novo review on appeal.”

Recent Highlights

Mr. Saunders' recent experience includes:

  •  Securing a complete reversal in the Federal Circuit of a $1.67 billion patent-infringement verdict (then the largest in US history) against a leading biotechnology company on its flagship therapeutic
  • Representing the world’s largest privately owned biotechnology company in a Federal Circuit appeal defending its $52 million verdict
  • Representing a top-ten pharmaceutical company in a Federal Circuit appeal from an ANDA judgment invalidating its claim to a new chemical entity that revolutionized the treatment of hepatitis B
  • Representing a major pharmaceutical company defending its favorable ANDA judgment in the Federal Circuit
  • Representing the licensee of a government patent defending the patent’s validity against a public use challenge
  • Representing a major agribusiness company in a Federal Circuit appeal defending a judgment awarding it attorney’s fees
  • Filing amicus briefs in the Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit on behalf of the Biotechnology Industry Organization on the scope of patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101
  • Representing the Motion Picture Association of America in the Supreme Court and the Tenth Circuit its efforts to defend the constitutionality of the copyright restoration provisions in Section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act
  • Representing a consumer electronics company in the Federal Circuit and in en banc proceedings to defend its successful enforcement of a permanent patent injunction in contempt proceedings
  • Arguing before the Ninth Circuit on behalf of a prisoner who was sexually assaulted, leading to the reversal of the decision dismissing the prisoner’s claim
  • Submitting comments to the PTO regarding genetic diagnostic testing on behalf of a major biotechnology company
  • Representing a medical device manufacturer on appeal in the Federal Circuit from an ex parte reexamination
  • Filing a cert petition in the Supreme Court on behalf of a software company
  • Filing a cert opposition in the Supreme Court on behalf of a medical device manufacturer
  • Filing a cert petition in the Supreme Court on behalf of a chemical company
  • Filing an amicus brief on behalf of a major pharmaceutical company in the en banc Federal Circuit proceedings to determine whether 35 U.S.C. § 112 contains a separate written description requirement
  • Representing the pharmaceutical industry in its successful challenge to an unconstitutional statute regulating patented pharmaceuticals
  • Representing a software company in its Federal Circuit appeal from an award of attorney’s fees in patent infringement litigation
  • Defending agricultural commodity research and promotion programs against First Amendment and other constitutional challenges


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JD, Yale Law School, 2004, Notes Editor, Yale Law Journal

AB, Social Studies, summa cum laude, Harvard University, 2000, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia

New York


The Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, US Supreme Court, 2007 - 2008

The Hon. Pierre N. Leval, US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 2004 - 2005

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