Tom Appledorn is an intellectual property attorney who provides his clients with practical strategies to protect, leverage, and monetize their technology assets, both tangible and intangible, and counsels them on risks related to technology in general. He brings to his practice a solutions-focused approach that is informed by his years of experience as an engineer developing software and hardware.

Tom spent his first years at Honigman focusing on worldwide patent procurement and IP portfolio development and continues to work very closely with the firm’s IP procurement group to identify productive, cost-effective strategies to secure meaningful coverage, when available. His clients are often sophisticated and understand the value that intellectual property protection can confer; they also respect third-party intellectual property and routinely enlist Tom to audit their product offerings to identify, mitigate, and navigate through, and around, other parties' intellectual property.

In the 20 years he has been with Honigman, Tom has become a close, trusted advisor when technology, data, privacy and other technical matters are at play. In addition to the respect he has garnered from clients, he is also sought out and highly regarded by firm colleagues and lawyers outside of the U.S.

Tom’s experiences range from the high technology of Silicon Valley to the automotive companies of Detroit and elsewhere (OEMs and suppliers). He has experience helping to merge these two cultures in the autonomous vehicle space, which can be challenging if the parties involved do not understand the cultural differences and underpinnings that drive the culture divide. Tom’s counseling and unique perspective can narrow that divide to yield a more productive conversation from the outset.

  • Structures, writes, negotiates, and advises in commercial and transactional contexts to ensure that clients’ third-party relationships are practical and well structured (e.g., with regard to licensing [traditional IP, software, SaaS, PaaS, and the like], services, development, supply, partnership, ventures, investments, M&A, and the like), attending to all aspects of commercial agreements and technology transfers involving technology or intellectual property
  • Prosecutes patent and trademark applications
  • Provides clearance and noninfringement opinions as appropriate
  • Negotiates IP license agreements and technology transfers
  • Counsels clients regarding antitrust issues in corporate deals
  • Supports IP and antitrust litigation and the shaping of corporate policy relating to the foregoing


Practice Areas


Representative Matters

  • Currently serves as a trusted adviser to various Tier 1 suppliers in connection with investments and developments in technology directed to the autonomous vehicle space, including radar, lidar, data security, the internet of things, information (ownership, collection and management), motors, engines, batteries, supply chain management, and the like
  • Served as IP advisor in the bankruptcy of a significant OEM automotive company
  • Worked in the patent department of EMC2
  • Designed and maintained high-level computer networks and other tools for a large-scale electrical supplier, customizing and adapting third-party software for integration within the supplier database
  • Performed engineering work involving various technologies and technological concepts, including:
    • computer programming: integration of computer hardware and computer software, particularly operating system design
    • microelectronics: semiconductors (principles and models of development, integrated circuit technology, and fabrication)
    • electronic circuits: design and simulation of logic systems
    • signal processing: digital and analog signals and systems
    • image processing: advanced signal processing and simulation






  • The Best Lawyers In America
    • Recognized in the practice areas of:
      • Trademark Law, 2020-2024
      • Patent Law, 2024
  • IAM Patent 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Professionals, Recognized as one of the World’s Leading Patent Practitioners, 2024
  • Michigan Super Lawyers, Recognized as Rising Star, 2012-2019
  • DBusiness, Top Lawyers, 2011-2013 and 2015 

Professional & Community Involvement

  • American Bar Association
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Michigan Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Young Lawyer's Association
  • University of Michigan Alumni Association
  • Phi Alpha Delta

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