Experienced patent attorney with a demonstrated history of innovative strategies
Over his decade-long legal career, Mike Tonkinson has cultivated a deep understanding of wireless communications, semiconductor devices, and the electrical and mechanical arts. As a patent attorney, he has demonstrated innovative strategies in helping his clients develop large, valuable patent portfolios. Mike also helps protect their business interests and the important technical developments of their inventions. His core practice at Patterson + Sheridan focuses on assisting clients with preparing and prosecuting domestic and foreign patents in the technical areas of communications, electronics and semiconductor technologies.
Mike has an extensive patent litigation background that now informs his preparation and prosecution work. During his legal career, Mike has defended clients accused of patent infringement and enforced clients’ patent rights before federal district courts and the Patent Trial and Appeals Board. His litigation experience enables him to see from the perspective of his clients’ competitors and determine how they might legally challenge the patents he drafts and prosecutes. Mike is also experienced in USPTO post-grant proceedings and standards-essential patent procurement and analysis.
A passion for innovation in technology
Mike pursued a career in patent law because he loves helping entrepreneurs and creatives working with cutting-edge technology. He enjoys guiding his clients through the innovation process from conception to the point a product hits the market. His academic background in electrical and computer engineering allows him to grasp complex ideas and better understand his clients’ research, development and products.
Throughout his career, Mike has worked with a vast array of technology including fiber-optic communications components and networks, encryption for communication networks, electronic design automation, transistor design, micro-electromechanical systems, accelerometers and gyroscopes. Exposure to these products has helped him navigate working with diverse clients. He’s also better able to provide them with a comprehensive understanding of the patent process, from invention through enforcement.
Teaching and mentoring the next generation of patent attorneys
Mike enjoys sharing his passion for patent law with other patent attorneys, agents and engineers. He has co-taught a patent drafting and prosecution course at a law school, and led internal trainings for junior patent practitioners. Mike often says to be effective in IP law, you have to have an intricate understanding of how innovation plays into a company’s business model: the two go hand-in-hand. This approach to the law has helped him secure hundreds of patents and earn the trust of inventors. One of Mike’s clients even once nominated him for the Northern California Super Lawyers Rising Star award.
In his free time, Mike finds joy in giving back to his community. He serves on the endowment committee for his high school’s alumni association, helping raise funds for equipment and college scholarships for underprivileged high school students. Mike is an outdoor enthusiast and loves hiking and skiing. He is also an avid cyclist and volunteers for the Boulder Mountain Bike Patrol. He hopes to pass on his love of the outdoors to his four kids with whom he frequently hikes and camps.