Mark Thomas is a partner in the firm’s Litigation Section. He represents individuals and businesses in connection with ERISA and other employee benefits disputes, trust litigation, lawsuits and registrations to protect trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property, and complex business litigation. In addition, he counsels clients on the administration of employee benefit plans.

Mark Thomas is a partner in the firm’s Litigation Section. He represents individuals and businesses in connection with ERISA and other employee benefits disputes, trust litigation, lawsuits and registrations to protect trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property, and complex business litigation. In addition, he counsels clients on the administration of employee benefit plans.

He has defended companies in products liability cases in North Carolina for the past three decades, including several defendants in asbestos products liability litigation. That litigation experience encompasses scores of plaintiff and co-worker depositions, expert witness discovery, and motion and trial briefing practice.

Mark has over 25 years of experience in ERISA and other employee benefits litigation at the trial as well as appellate level. He has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in cases involving a wide range of plan types, including disability, health and severance plans and various forms of retirement plans. His experience includes defending plan administrators and other fiduciaries against claims of fiduciary breach and representing plan participants enforcing their rights to retirement and disability benefits.

For over 30 years, Mark has also represented clients, both plaintiffs and defendants, in intellectual property litigation, including patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret claims, and he also regularly counsels clients with respect to trademark protection and registration. His litigation experience also includes cases involving complex business disputes.

He is a founder and past president of the Triangle Benefits Forum, and a regular speaker on ERISA and other employee benefits law. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” by North Carolina Super Lawyers magazine and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America© for more than five years, including Employee Benefits (ERISA), Employment Law - Management and Labor Law - Management for 2016. Martindale-Hubbell has rated Mark an AV attorney, its highest rating available.


Mark is licensed to practice in North Carolina. He is the current Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s International Law & Practice Section, as well as a member of its Intellectual Property Section and past chair of the Labor & Employment Law Section.  He is also a member of the American Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Law Section, the American Intellectual Property Law Association and the Defense Research Institute. 

Mark is a current board member and past President of the North Carolina Master Chorale, a major North Carolina arts organization. He is the current Chair of the History Committee of the Wake County Bar Association, and also a member of the board of directors, and past president, of the Badger-Iredell Foundation, an organization established by the Wake County Bar Association to administer the historic collection of the Badger-Iredell law office in Mordecai Park of Raleigh, North Carolina.

A graduate of Wake Forest University and Wake Forest University School of Law, Mark earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, and his Juris Doctor degree, cum laude.

  • Represented Plaintiff in federal lawsuit against a former consultant to our client. The lawsuit included claims of breach of contract, conveying trade secret technology and misappropriation of that technology, and attempted sale of it to a rival company.  Case resolved through trial.
  • Represented two docking pilots, who were participants in a union pension plan, in a suit against the union, its plan and plan fiduciaries.  The plan refused to provide the promised level of pension benefits.  After extensive discovery and motions practice, case settled under confidential terms. 
  • Represented a pesticide manufacturer in a case for declaratory judgment and false advertising claims under the Lanham Act arising from the Defendant's advertising that mischaracterized the qualities and effectiveness of our client's product formulation for termite control systems. The case settled under confidential terms.
  • Served as local defense counsel in action alleging infringement of patents in genetically modified corn. Our work was largely focused on local motions practice and representation lasting from 1995 until 2006, when our client was acquired by another company and they consolidated their patent counsel.  Ultimately, we transferred representation to another firm.
  • Represented individual involved in a wrongful termination of employee benefits under ERISA case in federal court. Case was later appealed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
  • Our client contracted to transfer rights of a patent to a vendor/supplier under terms for a schedule of payments and patent registration maintenance fees.  The vendor/supplier failed to pay as contracted and then refused to transfer the patent back to our client as the contract required in those circumstances so Williams Mullen filed suit on behalf of our client.  Case settled. 
  • Defended builder against claims brought by architect/designer alleging infringement of copyrighted house plans.  After extensive discovery, case settled.
  • Plaintiff was local jewelry designer, maker and retailer that sued Defendant for alleged infringement of Plaintiff's copyrighted silver jewelry designs and for related alleged Lanham Act violations. Case settled.
  • Williams Mullen defended client against claims of alleged breach of a contract to promote a racing team in the NASCAR truck racing circuit, including negotiation of major sponsorships, and business torts.  The case was removed to federal court, where our client subsequently filed counterclaims for failure by Plaintiff to pay for services rendered and loans advanced. Case negotiated to settlement.
  • Williams Mullen defended the U.S. subsidiary of a European maker of computerized furniture-making equipment sued for alleged violations of the Lanham Act, libel and other claims. Case resolved and later appealed to Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Williams Mullen defended a client in an arbitration arising from a dispute over a contract for licensing and implementation of an enterprise software system.  Our client was involved in the implementation of the enterprise software system. The case was removed to federal court to obtain an order to enforce the arbitration clause in the contract.  Williams Mullen conducted extensive discovery and defended the client in arbitration.  The case settled, under confidential terms, shortly before the scheduled hearing.
  • Defended former partners of plaintiff architectural firm, who did the preliminary work on design for large data processing center for a bank. At close of design phase, our clients left the architectural firm and established their own firm.  The bank hired our clients to serve as architects of record and build the building. Plaintiff architectural firm sued our clients and the bank for copyright infringement and breach of conract. Case ultimately settled.
  • Williams Mullen defended health care insurer for coverage of autologous bone marrow transplant under a plan sponsored through the Federal Employee Health Benefits Act (FEHBA). Judgment rendered and upheld by Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Williams Mullen defended client against claims brought by a hospital that sued following the Plaintiff's treatment of client's employee, when benefits under client's medical plan were refused on the grounds of an exclusion for unlawful activity.  The case ultimately settled.
  • Defended a third-party in an products liability action brought by the North Carolina vendor of TV satellite dishes.  The Plaintiff sued its Illinois-based supplier, which then sued our client for allegedly defective products. After conducting discovery, case settled.
  • Williams Mullen defended a paper products manufacturer that was sued for severance benefits by four of its former management-level employees. Case litigated to summary judgment.
  • Defended client against personal injury claims allegedly sustained by Plaintiff as she exited a mis-leveled elevator. The first trial was declared a mistrial due to a hung jury.  The case was litigated a second time to verdict.
  • Defended client company sued by home owner for allegedly defective product and negligent installation that caused a fire.  Plaintiff accused client company's home space heater of defects leading to their home catching fire.  After conducting extensive discovery, case settled.
  • Defended insurance company in employee benefits dispute over coverage for a governmental employee benefits plan.  Case settled.  
  • Defended distributor and two retailers sued for copyright and trademark infringement of intellectual property from the movie "Top Gun".  Case settled. 
  • Williams Mullen defended our client company's benefits plan and plan administrator when the mother of a deceased employee of our client company sued for death benefits, disputing the son's final designation of his estranged wife as his beneficiary.  All claims of case resolved through litigation except one, which was later settled. 
  • Defended a physician practice sued by a former non-doctor employee.  Plaintiff brought claims against the employer, Plan Administrator and two retirement plans alleging the Plaintiff was entitled to several hundred thousand dollars more in contributions, and was entitled to recover $3M in civil penalties against the Plan Administrator for failure to provide copies of requested plan documents.  Case was litigated in U.S. Federal Court in the Eastern District of North Carolina and then appealed to the Fourth Circuit.