To his practice of intellectual property law, Tom brings a depth of personal industrial engineering experience which extended from the factory floor to the corporate offices. This experience provides him with an understanding of client needs as a registered patent attorney as well as the versatility to meet those needs.
A partner at Dicke, Billig & Czaja, Tom practices primarily in the areas of patent preparation and prosecution, along with related client counseling, licensing and opinion matters. His primary areas of technical specialization are chemical and electrical technologies, with an emphasis in semiconductor fabrication and design, and computer hardware and software.
Though Tom provides legal services to individuals and research organizations, he primarily serves businesses ranging from small entities to large multi-national corporations. Two of these businesses have been identified by the United States Patent and Trademark Office as top-ten patenting organizations in the United States for more than five years each.
Prior to joining DBC in 2014, Tom was an officer and founding shareholder at the intellectual property firm which would ultimately be known as Leffert Jay & Polglaze, P.A. Prior to his own firm, he was a patent attorney at Schwegman, Lundberg, Woessner & Kluth. In addition to his years in private practice, Tom served as vice president and general counsel for Empak, Inc., a Colorado Springs-based supplier to the semiconductor and rotating memory disk industries.
Before entering the practice of law, Tom held a variety of line, staff and supervisory engineering positions at 3M, focusing on development and process improvement of manufacturing and packaging operations for both internal and outsourced operations. Tom’s work at 3M helped guide their Chemical Resources Division from pneumatic control of chemical processes to distributed computer control through the development of universal software modules. These developments were later implemented at plants globally, providing customizable control of fundamentals of chemical processing such as reaction kinetics and distillation.
Tom received his degree in chemical engineering in 1981 from Iowa State University. He received his degree in electrical engineering through the 3M Engineering Academic Program in 1990. In fact, prior to entering the legal profession, Tom held licenses from the State of Minnesota as a Professional Engineer in both chemical engineering (licensed in 1990) and electrical engineering (1991). In 1995, Tom graduated with honors from William Mitchell College of Law, where he was editor of the law review and participated in a prestigious national moot court competition.
On his evenings out with his wife, Tom enjoys attending the performances of the Minnesota Orchestra at Orchestra Hall, where they have been regular season ticket holders for more than a decade, and experiencing the many live theater venues Minneapolis has to offer. Tom is a big Broadway show fan, and says the one they’ve seen most frequently is Mamma Mia!