Thomas (Tom) M. Cunningham, Ph.D., is a chemical and biotechnology inventions patent attorney in the firm's Chemical Patent Prosecution group. His practice includes drafting and prosecuting patents for chemical and biotechnological inventions for both domestic and foreign clients. A scientist and former Patent Examiner with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Dr. Cunningham also holds an M.B.A. in finance and international business. In his practice, he works with a wide assortment of innovations involving DNA, proteins, antibodies, claims to nutritional products, and chemical aspects of vitamins and food products.

Dr. Cunningham also handles post-grant licensing arrangements, assists clients in developing patent portfolios, devises design-around solutions, and advises on patentability. He regularly conducts studies to determine whether peripheral or new products might be patentable in order to optimize client inventions and cover associated methods, treatments, and diagnostic and other uses that were not originally envisioned. Additionally, he provides infringement and invalidity opinions and represents a diverse range of clients at the USPTO, including before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI). Representing companies of all sizes, Dr. Cunningham actively participates in U.S. filings and advises on international filings, working in cooperation with local experts on foreign patent systems.

Due to Dr. Cunningham’s scientific background – focused in the areas of microbiology, immunology, molecular genetics, molecular biology and life sciences – he communicates well with inventors, understanding and easily extrapolating the information to develop better and broader patent claims. He has investigated the molecular biology of host/parasite interactions and isolated and purified immunological products. He has also studied molecular genetics and the molecular biology of plants. As a post-doctoral fellow and researcher at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research and the National Institute of Health, he conducted biological research on pathogens, food, nutrition, and food contaminants.

Dr. Cunningham has published numerous articles on molecular biology, disease pathogenesis, electron microscopy, identification of drug-binding proteins, and biochemical fractionation techniques.


  • George Washington University Law School (J.D.)
  • University of California at Los Angeles (Ph.D.)
    • Microbiology & Immunology
  • U.C.L.A. Anderson School of Management (M.B.A.)
    • Finance & International Business
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (B.S.)
    • Life Sciences


  • Virginia
  • Registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


Scientific Publications

  • Selective release of the Treponema pallidum outer membrane and associated olypeptides with Triton X-114.
  • Cunningham TM, Walker EM, Miller JN, Lovett MA.
  • J Bacteriol. 1988 Dec;170(12):5789-96.
  • Identification of Treponema pallidum penicillin-binding proteins.
  • Cunningham TM, Miller JN, Lovett MA.
  • J Bacteriol. 1987 Nov;169(11):5298-300
  • Native surface association of a recombinant 38-kilodalton Treponema pallidum antigen isolated from the Escherichia coli outer membrane.
  • Fehniger TE, Radolf JD, Walfield AM, Cunningham TM, Miller JN, Lovett MA.
  • Infect Immun. 1986 May;52(2):586-93
  • Purification and characterization of a cloned protease-resistant Treponema pallidum-specific antigen.
  • Fehniger TE, Walfield AM, Cunningham TM, Radolf JD, Miller JN, Lovett MA.
  • Infect Immun. 1984 Nov;46(2):598-607
  • Molecular cloning of the major outer membrane protein of Chlamydia trachomatis.
  • Allan I, Cunningham TM, Lovett MA.
  • Infect Immun. 1984 Sep;45(3):637-41.
  • Monoclonal antibodies to surface antigens of a pathogenic Mycoplasma hominis strain.
  • Olson LD, Shane SW, Karpas AA, Cunningham TM, Probst PS, Barile MF. Infect Immun. 1991 May;59(5):1683-9.

Professional Affiliations

  • American Society for Microbiology
  • Virginia Bar Association