Thomas Friel, Partner

Thomas J. Friel, Jr. is a partner in the Cooley Litigation department, head of the firm's national Intellectual Property Litigation practice and head of the firm's Bay Area Intellectual Property Litigation practice group. He joined the firm in 2000 and is resident in the San Francisco and Palo Alto offices.

Mr. Friel specializes in patent and licensing litigation, trademark and copyright litigation, trade secret, unfair competition and other complex business cases. He represents clients working in industries ranging from electronics to life sciences in federal and state courts, judicial and private arbitrations and International Trade Commission (ITC) investigations.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Friel was a name partner for over 20 years at Skjerven, Morrill, MacPherson, Franklin & Friel LLP, formerly a large intellectual property boutique headquartered in San Jose.

Mr. Friel has represented clients in patent and licensing litigations involving a wide range of products and industries, including blade servers, wireless technologies, life sciences, microprocessors, math co-processors, PLA's, semiconductor manufacturing and packaging equipment, database, software, graphics, HDTV, electronic gaming, industrial equipment, lasers, lighting, automotive and fluid handling, as well as Internet and business method patents. Mr. Friel has extensive experience litigating copyright matters involving software, microcode, databases, maps, technical and training manuals and other works. Mr. Friel also has extensive experience with trademark cases, such as invalidating the "386" trademark for microprocessors, and numerous trademark and trade dress matters.

Mr. Friel is a frequent lecturer on patent topics and has served on the faculty of the annual Advanced Patent Law Institute and the annual Rocky Mountain Intellectual Property & Technology Institute.

Mr. Friel has been included in the 2007-2013 and 2015-2016 editions of The Best Lawyers in America (Specialty of Intellectual Property Law), and has been honored from 2006 through 2014 as a Northern California Super Lawyer (Intellectual Property Litigation). He is named one of the top patent litigators in the United States (Legal 500 2015) and has been honored as one of the top intellectual property attorneys in California by Chambers USA since 2008. In 2011 and 2012, Mr. Friel was recognized by the Daily Journal as one of the "Top 75 Intellectual Property Litigators" in California. Lastly, he has been featured both in Euromoney Legal Group Guide to Leading U.S. Lawyers (Intellectual Property) and Euromoney Guide to the World's Leading Patent Law Experts

Mr. Friel graduated cum laude in 1977 from the University of Michigan Law School, where he was a recipient of the Henry M. Campbell Memorial Prize (moot court competition). He completed the College of Advocacy, Hastings College of Law in 1981. He completed his undergraduate education at University of Michigan, College of Literature, Science and Arts, where he graduated magna cum laude with a BGS in 1973.

Mr. Friel is a member of the California State Bar and is admitted to all California state and federal courts, all Districts of Texas, the District of Colorado, the Fifth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He has been admitted pro hac vice on numerous cases to district courts in Delaware, Virginia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Illinois, Georgia, Florida, Oregon, Washington, District of Columbia and Utah. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the International Trade Commission (ITC) Trial Lawyers Association and the San Francisco and Santa Clara County Bar Associations.


  • University of Michigan Law School
    JD, 1977, cum laude
  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
    BGS, 1973, magna cum laude

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • International Trade Commission

Bar Admissions

  • California


  • American Bar Association
  • International Trade Commission Trial Lawyers Association
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association
  • The Bar Association of San Francisco

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