Sean Cunningham > DLA Piper LLP (US) > San Diego (Downtown), United States > Lawyer Profile

DLA Piper LLP (US)
SUITE 1700
SAN DIEGO, CA 92101-4297
United States

Work Department

Patent Litigation; Intellectual Property and Technology; Litigation, Arbitration and Investigations


Partner; US Chair, Patent Litigation Practice


Sean Cunningham is a patent trial lawyer who focuses on patent disputes in a wide array of technology fields. He has nearly two decades of experience handling patent cases through trial in district courts and in the International Trade Commission (ITC).

Sean’s patent trial experience includes more than a dozen trials in the ITC, Delaware, New York, California, Texas, Virginia and Arizona. His most recent jury trial resulted in complete victory for his client, with the jury finding the two patents asserted against his client both not infringed and invalid. Sean’s experience also includes the jury trial of the Cornell v. Hewlett-Packard case before Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Randall Rader sitting by designation, which resulted in a landmark post-trial ruling on patent damages in favor of his client.


American Intellectual Property Law Association


J.D., University of Kansas School of Law; B.A., University of Kansas

Lawyer Rankings

United States > Intellectual property > Patents: litigation (International Trade Commission)

Growing in depth, breath and caliber, the practice at DLA Piper LLP (US) continues to attract well-known clients, particularly from the automotive and technology sectors, maintaining its place among the busiest firms in the ITC sphere. Additionally, the group impresses with a solid track record handling matters requiring district court and appellate expertise. A trio comprised of Palo Alto’s Mark Fowler, who acts as vice chair of the IPT practice; Sean Cunningham, who serves as chair of the US patent litigation practice; and Erin Gibson, who was named chair of the ITC practice in 2021, are the stand-out names of the department. The latter two are based in San Diego. The team’s capabilities in the Washington DC office were increased in June 2021 with the arrival of Helena Kiepura from Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

United States > Intellectual property > Patents: litigation (full coverage)

DLA Piper LLP (US)’s sizable patent litigation group is a powerful force in the US, frequently praised for its ‘committed and dedicated team’, as well as for its ‘vast experience’. The practice is a preferred choice for a number of major international and domestic companies thanks to its experience in the main US patent litigation forums as well as for its solid cross-border capabilities, which it puts to use in other key patent jurisdictions such as the UK and Germany. Cases related to the technology, life sciences, and consumer products sectors account for a particularly significant portion of the caseload. The California-based team of Mark Fowler, vice chair of the intellectual property and technology practice; Sean Cunningham, the chair of the US patent litigation team, and Erin Gibson, who is particularly skilled in ITC proceedings, are the key names of the department. Washington DC’s Kathryn Riley Grasso, who according to a client is ‘able to elevate the performance of the entire team’, and Delaware’s Brian Biggs, who was promoted to partner in 2021, are other key contacts. The practice was further reinforced with the arrival in May and June 2021 of partners Jennifer Nall (Austin) and Helena Kiepura (DC), who joined from Baker Botts L.L.P. and Kirkland & Ellis LLP respectively.