Patent Attorney Profile: Thomas Kulaga
Tom Kulaga is a patent attorney who worked for 19 years as an engineer before going to law school and earning a law degree. The years of practical experience gained by Tom as he worked at various power plants and other industrial sites as an engineer gives him valuable insight for understanding the technical aspect of inventions.
Tom Kulaga has always been interested in technology and how things work. In high school, Tom became a ham radio operator and built much of his ham equipment. Tom also enjoyed rebuilding car engines and transmissions. After graduating as an engineer, Tom worked as a maintenance engineer and as a start up engineer. This work allowed Tom to mess around with bigger things! Currently, Tom enjoys amateur astronomy, and builds and tests telescope equipment. Tom enjoys digging into the inner workings of equipment, and that trait helps him as a patent lawyer to understand the various inventions for which he writes patent applications.
Education | Licenses and Registrations | Legal Background | Technical Background | Memberships & Honors | Seminars | Publications
Tom Kulaga graduated from Tennessee Technological University (TTU) located in Cookeville, TN, in 1977 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering.
Tom graduated near the top of his class from The University of Tennessee, College of Law, Knoxville, in 1999 with a J.D. While in law school, Tom studied in the Center for Advocacy with a concentration in litigation and in the Center for Entrepreneurial Law with a concentration in business transactions. Tom was the first student to graduate from The University of Tennessee College of Law after successfully completing both areas of concentration.
Tom was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Transactions: Tennessee Journal of Business Law. Tom was also a member of the Tennessee Law Review. Tom assisted in updating the College of Law web site, including the Tennessee Law Review web site. He also earned several Academic Achievement Awards and received two scholarships.
Tom graduated magna cum laude and was inducted into the Order of the Coif and The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.
Licenses and Registrations
Tom Kulaga is an Attorney licensed to practice law in Tennessee. BPR Number 20164, issued in 2000.
Tom is a Patent Attorney registered with the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to practice Patent Law before the PTO. Registration Number 46,844, issued in 2000. In order to be a registered patent lawyer, Tom had to have a technical degree and pass a written examination given by the PTO.
Tom is an attorney admitted to practice before the Federal Court, Tennessee Eastern District.
Tom became a registered Professional Engineer in New York State in 1984. In order to obtain the registration, Tom satisfied the experience and professionalism requirements and passed the required examination administered by the State of New York.
At Knox Patents, Tom Kulaga provides patent, trademark, and copyright counseling and services to individuals and business clients. Tom prepares and prosecutes patent applications in the electrical, computer, and mechanical arts. The industries that Tom works with inventors include fiber optics, communications, electrical power equipment, computer software, medical instruments, industrial and power plant instrumentation, radiation detectors and processors, and various other industries. He prepares non-infringement opinions and invalidity opinions. Tom also prepares trademark and copyright applications. Click here for a listing of patents that Tom has obtained for his clients since 2003.
Before starting Knox Patents, Tom worked for several years as a associate patent attorney with the law firm of Pitts & Brittian, P.C., a patent law firm in Knoxville, Tennessee. While working at his previous firm, Tom provided patent, trademark, and copyright counseling and services to both individual inventors and corporations.
After graduating from law school in 1999, Tom worked as a Judicial Clerk for Judge J. Curwood Witt, Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Knoxville. He was one of two clerks assisting Judge Witt in researching and drafting memoranda for opinions.
While in law school, Tom volunteered his time by providing assistance to Judge Joseph M. Tipton, Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Knoxville. He also gained legal experience by clerking at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, & Caldwell during one summer break and by working as a Legal Clinic Attorney at The University of Tennessee College of Law, Knoxville.
Tom Kulaga worked as an Electrical Engineer and an Instrumentation Engineer for various architect/engineering firms, utilities, and the Federal government. He worked for Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL), Raytheon Engineering and Construction, Ebasco Services, and DuPont at Savannah River, among other companies. Tom provided short term, expert engineering assistance for public utilities and government projects. He designed control systems and instrumentation loops and prepared engineering calculations. He provided field support to troubleshoot and correct engineering, design, and maintenance problems. He authored a methodology for determining instrument calibration acceptance criteria and wrote software to support tracking instrumentation and aiding with calculations. Tom was a member of the team that authored the initial version of the national instrumentation standard ISA RP67.04, Methodologies for the Determination of Setpoints for Nuclear Safety Related Instrumentation.
Tom Kulaga organized and managed a computer services group within a 350 person engineering services office. He taught beginning and advanced computer classes for office staff, including engineering, drafting, and secretarial personnel, and he configured and maintained computers and CAD workstations. Tom's experience includes designing and programming business and engineering software applications in accordance with software engineering standards. He has prepared and reviewed Software Requirement Specifications, Software Design Documents, and Verification and Validation Plans for software in accordance with IEEE standards.
Tom worked as a Quality Assurance Engineer responsible for reviewing maintenance activities and determining quality control inspection points at a nuclear power plant. He performed Quality Assurance reviews of plant procedures and performed trend analysis of quality assurance inspections.
Tom owned a computerized tax preparation and financial services company that performed financial planning for small business owners. With that company, he developed, wrote, and documented software for preparing personal income tax returns and for performing individual financial planning. Tom was fully registered as a general securities and insurance representative.
Seminars, Presentations, and Speaking Engagements
2015: CodeStock 2015, Knoxville, TN, Intellectual Property for Start-Up Companies.
2014: The University of Tennessee, College of Law, Law Office Technology (an overview of one patent lawyer's office), (presentation to the Law, Science, & Technology Seminar class).
2013-14: The University of Tennessee, College of Engineering, Department of Nuclear Engineering, Intellectual Property for Engineers (presentation for the Nuclear System Design class).
2012: Knoxville Bar Association Law Practice Today Expo 2012, Ethical Cloud Computing for Legal Professionals, (panel member).
2012: Tennessee Inventors Association (TIA), Patent Update
2011: SCORE: The Patent Reform Act of 2011
2011: Tennessee Inventors Association (TIA), Resources for Inventors.
2011: Tennessee Inventors Association (TIA): Patents and Protecting Inventions.
2006 to 2010: The University of Tennessee, College of Law, The Automated, Almost Paperless Law Office (an overview of one patent lawyer's office), (presentation to the Law, Science, & Technology Seminar class at the UT College of Law Spring and Fall Semester classes).
2009: Knoxville Bar Association Law Practice Today Expo 2009, Technology Must-Haves for the Thrifty Lawyer, (moderator and panel member).
2008: Tennessee Intellectual Property Law Association (TIPLA), Ethics and Law Firm Trade Names
2008: The University of Tennessee, College of Law, Guest lecturer for Business Law Clinic class.
2007: Tennessee Intellectual Property Law Association (TIPLA), Ethics for the IP Attorney in the Use of a Firm Website and Advertising.
2007: Tennessee Inventors Association (TIA), Patent Update - What is Happening at the PTO, in Congress, and with the Supreme Court.
2007: Knoxville Bar Association Legal Technology Expo 2007, The Ultimate Makeover: Losing Paper in Favor of Electronic Files.
2007: The University of Tennessee, College of Law, Speaker addressing the staff of Transactions: The Tennessee Business Law Journal.
2007: Tennessee Inventors Association, Patent Searching on the Internet.
2006: Tennessee Inventors Association, Patent and Trademark Office Rule Changes for 2006, Changes Proposed and Changes Made.
2006 & 2009: Tennessee Inventors Association, Patents: The Why and How, or Why should an inventor seek a patent and what patent strategies are available.
2005: Tennessee Intellectual Property Law Association (TIPLA), Zealous Representation and Provisional Patent Applications: An Ethical Look at How, Why, and When to File a Provisional Patent Application.
2004 & 2005: The University of Tennessee, College of Law, Legal Ethics and the Paperless Law Office.
2003: Tennessee Intellectual Property Law Association (TIPLA), Legal Ethics and the Paperless Law Office.
2002 to present: Various Corporations: Fundamentals of Intellectual Property Protection.
2002 to present: Various Corporations: An Overview of Intellectual Property Protection.
Are We Paperless, Yet?, DICTA, Knoxville Bar Association, August 2014.
Donate your PC!, DICTA, Knoxville Bar Association, February 2007.
Technically Speaking: Is Your Data Safe?, DICTA, Knoxville Bar Association, October 2006.
Tom has also written the following papers that are available on this web site: