On April 19, 2021, President Joe Biden nominated Tiffany Cunningham to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Ms. Cunningham has spent her entire career in intellectual property litigation, one of the primary subject areas of the Federal Circuit.
If confirmed, Ms. Cunningham would be the first Black judge in the history of the Federal Circuit. In fact, the Federal Circuit is the only U.S. Court of Appeals to have never had a Black judge. Cunningham would also be only the fourth person of color to serve on the Circuit, and just the second woman of color to do so.
Since 2014, Cunningham has been a partner at Perkins Coie in the firm’s patent litigation practice. In this role, Cunningham has served as trial and appellate counsel to individuals and corporations (including many Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon, General Motors, Intel, and Microsoft) in complex patent disputes. She also serves on the firm’s 17-member executive committee that oversees the work of over 1,200 attorneys in 20 offices across the globe. Prior to joining Perkins Coie, Ms. Cunningham spent 12 years at the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis, becoming a partner in 2007 after five years with the firm. During her time at Kirkland, Cunningham successfully represented BlackBerry in a bid to overturn a $150 million jury verdict against the smartphone manufacturer in a patent dispute.
Ms. Cunningham would bring both technical and legal expertise to the Federal Circuit. Cunningham holds both a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. After law school, she clerked for Judge Timothy Dyk on the Federal Circuit itself. Her practice at Perkins Coie and Kirkland & Ellis focused on biotechnology, computer science, chemical and mechanical engineering, and pharmaceuticals litigation. She has extensive experience in federal court, having argued before multiple district courts and the Federal Circuit. Cunningham is also a registered patent attorney with the United States Patent and Trademark
Ms. Cunningham has consistently been recognized by her peers throughout her legal career. She was listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2021: Patent Litigation. She has been recognized as by Super Lawyers and Leading Lawyers publications for each of the last 5 years and was recognized as one of the Most Powerful and Influential Women in the state of Illinois by the National Diversity Council in 2010.