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Thomas Franklin

Partner, Kilpatrick Townsend

Thomas Franklin is a partner with Kilpatrick Townsend, where he focuses his practice on patent prosecution, licensing and intellectual capital management with more than fifteen years of experience with intellectual property. He is experienced in intellectual property audits, due diligence and strategic planning processes. Through an IP Asset Management plan, he tailors strategy to business goals, competitive pressures and funding constraints to leverage intangible assets with intellectual property. He uses IP protection to maintain the dominance of large companies or assist smaller enterprises who are vying to dominate. Recognized by Chambers USA, sources noted Mr. Franklin as “a brilliant and intelligent attorney who knows IP law inside out.”

Mr. Franklin was recognized as a top patent practitioner in 2021 and the eight years immediately preceding by IAM Patent 1000. In 2020 and the three years immediately preceding, he was listed in the IAM Strategy 300: The World’s Leading IP Strategists. Mr. Franklin was recognized as a Colorado “Super Lawyer” in 2021 and the seven years immediately preceding for intellectual property by Super Lawyers magazine. In 2020, he was selected by Law Week Colorado to its “Barrister’s Best” list as the “People’s Choice” for Best IP Non-Litigator. Mr. Franklin was named a Lawyer of the Year in 2012 by Law Week Colorado for the successful effort to bring a Regional Patent and Trademark Office to the Rocky Mountain Region in Denver to fulfill his vision of a nationwide workforce of the brightest and best examiners. The San Diego State University Alumni Association recognized and honored Mr. Franklin with the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Engineering.

Mr. Franklin’s technical experience broadly covers the areas of software, Internet technology, content delivery, business methods, clean technology, circuit design, imaging arrays, cryptographic design, telecommunications, electronic design tools, wireless communications, networking and telemetry systems.

Recent Articles by Thomas Franklin

Patent Office Improves Open Data Access to File Wrappers

Last week, the USPTO announced a public release of the Patent Center beta that will eventually replace PAIR and EFS-Web while providing improved access to prosecution histories and related data. The Office has always been on the cutting edge of technology for the Federal government. Their electronic filing system (EFS), Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system, hoteling, and other technology initiatives have put the Office out front of many government agencies. FY2020 Congressional Justification for the USPTO states that it is the responsibility of the USPTO to “foster[] innovation, competitiveness and job growth in the United States by … delivering IP information and education worldwide.” Open access to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) data is core to the USPTO’s mission and aligns with the Open Data policies of the Federal government generally.

Patent Trends Study Part Thirteen: Building Materials

This is the last in a 13-part series of articles authored by Kilpatrick Townsend. The series examined industry-specific patent trends across 12 key patent-intensive industries. In this 13-part series, we introduced our patent trends study (performed in a collaboration between Kilpatrick Townsend and GreyB Services) and provided high-level data across 12 industries. Today’s article pertains to the Building Materials industry and its enabling technology. Innovation in this space is motivated by more than just buildings, but also hydrocarbon production and aerospace applications. For example, deep sea concrete encasements and insulation for space modules are inventions that have far broader applications. California dominated the patent filings in every patent cluster of the study except Building Materials, where Texas has the most filings. This tech cluster is pushing the envelope for cutting-edge applications that will find their way into such things as green or smart building materials over time so that all consumers benefit.

Patent Trend Study Part Twelve: Mobile Phone Industry

Yesterday, we discussed patenting trends in the cleantech industry. Today, we turn to the mobile phone industry, which has matured with fewer reasons for frequent consumer upgrades while standards drive toward better efficiency and data rates to find even more uses for the platforms. The mobile phone industry has exploded over the last decade with nearly all U.S. consumers owning a smart phone. Additionally, many Internet of Things (IoT) devices have gained cellular modems, along with modern heavy equipment having a data connection for telemetry. The wireless standards have innovation that comes in waves, with 3G and 4G/LTE reaching maturation, while 5G has a solid upward trend. The supply chain for mobile phone manufacture has largely moved overseas and many brands have disappeared or moved overseas. Even though the two mobile operating systems are just over a decade old, we are seeing the pace of software innovation plateau with a couple million apps in the respective platform stores. The ubiquity of cellular data will bring the underlying technology to many different industries in the years to come, as the maturity of the industry allows the focus to move away from the platform itself.

Patent Trends Study Part Eleven: Cleantech Industry

Yesterday, we discussed patenting trends in artificial intelligence (AI). Today, we turn to the cleantech and green tech industries, which are changing many established industries in different sectors of the economy, as well as providing entirely new areas to innovate. Cleantech innovation is relatively steady in recent years after a growth spurt that started nearly a decade ago. Those early growth trends were likely driven by government stimulus funds that have disappeared along with the growing innovation trend.  The promise of a green revolution powered by cleantech may still be happening, but it simply is not a patent growth area in general except for a few areas explored below. Developing new products in this space takes years and there are many factors that interrupt this cycle to make product introduction difficult.

Patent Trends Study Part Ten: Artificial Intelligence Industry

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a hot topic in both the tech and political spheres. This technology holds huge widespread potential, and strategic use of AI may well be a source of commercial and/or political power. For example, potential uses of AI may range from facilitating targeted and efficient drug development to controlling traffic lights (and thus reducing pollution and commute times), to developing life-like online personas. With all of the media attention that AI is receiving and with its widespread potential uses, how is a company to decide how fervently to pursue patents in this area and to weight their patent portfolios across different types of AI innovations?

Patent Trend Study Part Nine: Blockchain

Our last article in this series discussed patenting trends in the Therapeutics and Diagnostic Molecules Industry. Today, we turn to the blockchain industry, which is a foundational technology that is expected to revolutionize many different industries and not just digital currency. Blockchain patent filings are exploding, but we are still very early in the innovation cycle of this technology. Important to note about the data here: it is limited and especially thin, as this industry was just invented a decade ago, when there were just a handful of filings, and less than a thousand filings today. This is the only area in the greater study that was not long established, but the importance of blockchain is something that cannot be ignored in many industries. Although the most well-known application of blockchain is cryptocurrency, blockchain provides authenticity to any electronic transaction or contract in an open and trusted way. Blockchain underpins algorithmically protected currency but is expected to disrupt many other industries where algorithms can be trusted more than conventional mechanisms.

Patent Trends Study Part Eight: Therapeutic and Diagnostic Molecules Industry

In our last article exploring patent trends across 12 industries, we addressed the industrial design industry. Today’s article pertains to the therapeutic and diagnostic molecules industry. Few other industries have the potential to so dramatically affect individuals’ lives as does this industry. While on a day-to-day basis it can be easy to forget the intensive bench work and clinical trials that are being undertaken in attempts to better treat or cure disease, it is this steady pulse of investment and effort that has led to the cure of many ailments and diseases. Rather recently, biologics advancements have expanded the field to no longer merely rely on small-molecule compositions but to draw upon a large pool of sophisticated large-molecule options. However, research and development in the pharmaceutical space remains heavily regulated and extraordinarily expensive. Thus, investments must be chosen and protected wisely.

Patent Trends Study Part Seven: Industrial Design

Yesterday, we looked at trends in the medical device industry. Today’s article pertains to Industrial Design, which was limited to design patent protection. The term of a design patent is 15 years from filing in contrast with 20 years from issuance for utility patents that are the subject of the 11 other industry areas of this study. Submarine patents are still possible in the design area. Unlike utility applications, nearly all design patents are allowed with a 99% success rate in recent years. This near perfect yield for filings coupled with costs that are about 10% of a utility patent with no maintenance fees contributes to the wild popularity of design patent protection. Our study not only identified a set of applications that pertained to this industry, but also—for each application in this set—we determined whether the application pertained to one or more of the categories shown in the topology below. If so, the application was appropriately tagged, such that it could be included in one or more category-specific data subsets for subsequent analysis.