Our Team

Exceptional Lawyers, Exceptional Outcomes

Thomas Whitelaw litigators are courtroom veterans, possessing deep knowledge of the courts throughout California and the nation, including appellate courts. We have tried highly technical and complicated cases to successful verdicts–time after time. Through our unique collective experiences from various national law firms and within global corporations, our attorneys offer insight from both a legal and business perspective. We embrace the latest technology and fight tirelessly for our client results.

Our real estate and environmental attorneys are highly sought after to provide counsel on complex real estate matters and environmental issues. Each attorney brings a wealth of knowledge in his or her area of specialization–from commercial development to finance, eminent domain, land use, hazardous waste, mitigation and other issues. Our well-trained associates and paralegals also play an important role in Thomas Whitelaw. From research to document filing to brief writing, they contribute to our teams and stay focused on client goals. These valuable team members help us to remain cost efficient.

attorney Joseph E. Thomas has more than 30 years of experience in intellectual property litigation and is the Managing Partner and chair of Thomas Whitelaw & Kolegraff’s Litigation and Trial Practice Group. The firm is a nationally-renowned intellectual property litigation boutique located in Irvine, California. Mr. Thomas received a B.A. magna cum laude in Political Science and Economics from Lehigh University. He received his J.D. graduating magna cum laude from Pepperdine University School of Law, where he was Articles Editor of the Pepperdine Law Review. He also held a judicial externship with Senior District Judge Terry S. Hatter in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Mr. Thomas has successfully tried over 30 cases in his career, and has handled patent and intellectual property litigation throughout the country for clients such as VIZIO, Western Digital, Toshiba, CoreLogic and First American Financial. Mr. Thomas has won several eight-figure jury verdicts. Most recently, in 2014, Mr. Thomas served as lead trial counsel in Pabban Development (“Pabban”) v. Kyphon Sarl (“Kyphon”), et al. in the Central District of California. Pabban sued Kyphon for damages arising from Pabban’s sale to Kyphon of its patent and state-of-the-art Natrix System, a bone cement delivery system used to treat vertebral compression fractures. Following four years of intense litigation and a seven-day trial, the jury agreed with Pabban and concluded that Kyphon owed $15.417 million in damages. In addition, Mr. Thomas successfully defensed Kyphon’s fraud and breach of contract counter-claims against Pabban, two affiliates, and its CEO, seeking $17 million plus punitive damages. Pabban was also awarded over $8.5 million for all of its attorneys’ fees and costs, bringing the total judgment to $23,979,400.

Practice Areas

Our firm is divided into five practice areas. Our core litigation and trial practices include: Intellectual Property Litigation, Complex Business Litigation, Real Estate. Construction and Environmental Litigation, and Securities and Corporate Litigation. In addition, Thomas Whitelaw also provides real estate and environmental law transactional expertise to meet our clients’ complementary needs.

Intellectual Property Litigation

  • Patent Infringement
  • Trade Secret Misappropriation and Unfair Competition
  • Technology Licensing and Royalty Disputes
  • Trademark and Copyright Infringement
  • Right of Publicity

Complex Business Litigation

  • Commercial Contacts
  • Entertainment and Media
  • Banking
  • Products Liability
  • Class Actions
  • Consumer Litigation including Unfair Competition and False Advertising

Real Estate and Construction Litigation

  • Real Estate Development and Construction Litigation
  • Eminent Domain
  • Land – Use Litigation
  • Project Finance, Leasing and Acquisitions
  • Title Insurance

Environmental Counseling and Litigation

  • Hazardous Waste Litigation
  • Hazardous Waste Mitigation Counseling
  • Chemical Exposure Litigation
  • Land Use Counseling and Representation

Securities and Corporate Litigation

  • Shareholder Litigation
  • Securities Class Actions
  • Takeover Litigation
  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty

About Us

Winning Solution for High-Stakes Matters

As one of the nation’s premier litigation firms, Thomas Whitelaw prides itself on its hunger to win. And, to win big, we earned our reputation for success through hard-fought trials, mediations and strategic settlements.

A high-stakes real estate dispute presents an example of Thomas Whitelaw’s approach. We defended a city against claims for breach of a ground lease, fraud and inverse condemnation. Not only did we obtain summary judgment in our client’s favor dismissing all claims, we then went to trial on the city’s cross-complaint, forcing a settlement valued at $50 million in favor of the city.

Or again, Or again, in a recent patent infringement case, we employed our litigation skills and technical expertise to obtain a highly-favorable settlement for a Fortune 50 Company against a claim seeking millions of dollars of unpaid royalties under a license agreement involving transportation technology.

We achieve these results by pouring ourselves into each case. First, we understand the unique intricacies of each client and matter. Then, through our collaborative approach, we develop and execute winning solution for high-stakes matters–from discovery to trial to appeal–both in state and federal courts.

Not only do we win big, but we do it with a consideration for delivering value to clients. In this difficult economic environment, we understand that in-house counsel are asked not only to win , but to do so efficiently. At Thomas Whitelaw, we work with clients to develop situation-specific billing arrangements. We utilize state-of-the-art  electronic document management technologies that allow us to store, retrieve and search electronic data in the most efficient manner. We provide our clients password-protected access to all electric documents, which allows us to partner with our clients on a real time basics to manage large cases effectively.

Another key to delivering value is efficient lawyer staffing.  At Thomas Whitelaw, our business is not driven by leverage. To staff a case, we judiciously team seasoned partners with highly experienced senior associates based on client needs, attorney expertise and relevant trial or specialized experience. We have no associates-in-training. As a result, all of our lawyers are experienced. Our seasoned associates and paralegals, cherry-picked from national firms, round out the teams to create efficiencies, not hourly charge overloads.

Thomas Whitelaw had earned its coveted reputation for providing its clients with winning solutions for litigating high-stakes matters.