Tom Duston is a hands-on trial lawyer who focuses on patent litigation for some of the world's most sophisticated companies. With more than thirty years' experience, he has been lead counsel in over 60 patent infringement matters in U.S. Federal courts. Tom is praised by clients and adversaries alike for both his creativity and tenacity as a trial attorney. He has represented Groupon, Abbott Laboratories, CDW, Newegg, T-Mobile, Charter Communications, Express LLC, GE Aviation, TRINOVA (now part of Eaton), Russell Athletic, Raytheon, Home Depot, Classified Ventures, as well as, to name but a few.

Leading Lawyers, a division of the Law Bulletin Publishing Company, has named him a “Leading Lawyer” in IP Litigation and profiled him in its September 2014 edition of Leading Lawyers Magazine. U.S. News and World Report has repeatedly listed him as among “The Best Lawyers in America” in the practice areas of Litigation–Intellectual Property, Litigation–Patent, and Patent Law. Tom has been awarded a Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent Rating®, a designation held by “an elite group of approximately 10 percent of all attorneys,” “a designation trusted worldwide,” and the highest honor given by Martindale-Hubbell®. He has also received Martindale-Hubbell's AV Preeminent Award – Judicial Edition. Thomson Reuters has repeatedly identified Tom as among the “Top 100” attorneys in Illinois and named him to the Illinois Super Lawyers list. American Lawyer Media (ALM) and Martindale-Hubbell selected him as a “Top Rated Lawyer in Intellectual Property.” The Managing IP IP Stars Survey named him an "IP Star.” He has authored a number of articles in the areas of patent and trade secret litigation. Earlier in his career, Tom was named by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company as one of “Forty Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch,” a list of the State’s most talented and well-regarded lawyers. Patexia also recognized Tom as a "Top Attorney for District Court Patent Cases" for Patent Litigation. Tom was included in the "America's Most Honored Lawyers" and "Top Lawyers in the Midwest" lists for 2022. Most recently, Tom was recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of the “Notable Litigators and Trial Attorneys” for 2023. The guide spotlights the Chicago area’s top trial lawyers and litigators for their professional and community successes and accomplishments over the last 18 months.

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Representative Experience

  • Lead trial counsel for one of the defendants in Eolas Technologies LLC v. Adobe, et al. (E.D. Tex.) in which defendants successfully invalidated before a Tyler, Texas jury two of the most notorious early Internet patents.
  • Achieved a multi-million dollar settlement of a patent infringement claim on behalf of the inventor of a revolutionary silicone device used in reconstructive surgery from the world’s largest manufacturer of such devices.
  • Successfully represented several of the nation’s largest internet retailers, with combined annual revenues in excess of $10 billion, in the Eastern District of Texas against allegations by Soverain Software that they infringed early e-commerce patents directed to electronic shopping carts and methods for communications via HTTP.
  • Gained favorable results for the patent holder in infringement actions against several of the nation’s largest online digital photofinishing services.
  • Successfully represented a former Fortune 500 company, now one of the largest privately held companies in the U.S., in connection with infringement claims directed at use of HTML forms in online shopping.
  • Gained favorable outcome for client in patent infringement claim involving diagnostic immunoassays utilizing monoclonal antibodies.
  • Litigated patent infringement claims for aluminum alloys used to construct upper wing surfaces of commercial passenger jets.
  • Defended one of the largest technology resellers in connection with infringement claims directed to dynamic taxonomies employed in electronic catalogs for e-commerce applications and electronic auctions.
  • Litigated infringement claims on behalf of one of the largest private companies in the U.S. relating to asymmetric data compression techniques for use with online digital images employed in web pages.
  • Gained favorable outcome for clients in patent infringement claim involving hydraulic fittings for aerospace applications.
  • Represented company with multi-billion dollar annual revenues in litigation alleging infringement of patents claimed to cover intelligent, web-based sales automation systems.

Background and Credentials

Tom has experience with a diverse array of technologies in the medical, pharmaceutical, semiconductor, computer, Internet, explosives, automotive and metals industries, among others. His work on behalf of his clients has encompassed not only patent infringement litigation, but also trade secret disputes, the enforcement of non-competition agreements, trademark actions, claims of unfair competition, and contract and negligence claims relating to technology failures. He has tried intellectual property disputes before both judges and juries, and has handled injunction proceedings, arbitrations, mediations and appeals in such cases.

A graduate of Columbia University (B.A. 1984), Tom received his J.D. in 1987 from University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where he was a member of the Moot Court Board and an instructor in the Moot Court Program. While at Hastings, he externed as a staff attorney for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.


  • University of California Hastings College of the Law (J.D.)
  • Columbia University (B.A.)

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • Admitted to practice pro hac vice in various district courts throughout the U.S.

Publications and Presentations

  • "How Cos. Can Protect IP in Light of FTC Noncompete Rule," Law360, May 3, 2024.
  • "FTC Outlaws Noncompetes—What You Need to Know," Marshall Gerstein Insights, April 25, 2024.

  • "A Comparative Analysis of Litigation in the International Trade Commission and District Court," Presenter, AUTM Professional Development Webinar, December 3, 2020. 
  • "The Supreme Court Finds IPR Proceedings Constitutional," Marshall Gerstein Alert, April 24, 2018. 
  • "Federal Circuit Confirms TC Heartland Changed the Law," World Intellectual Property Review, November 16, 2017 (featured quotes).

See Tom's additional Publications and Presentations.

Community and Professional Involvement

  • American Bar Association (sections on Intellectual Property Law and Litigation)
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • American Judicature Society
  • Chicago Bar Association (member of the Judicial Evaluation Committee)
  • Intellectual Property Owners Association
  • Seventh Circuit Bar Association
  • Executives' Club of Chicago
  • Intellectual Property Owners Association (member of the Damages and Injunctions Committee)
  • International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI) (member of the Standing Committee on Trade Secrets)
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