Dr. Richard (“Dick”) Thurston is the former Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Ltd., 2002 – 2014; and a consultant to Dr. Morris Chang, 2014-2017. During his tenure as TSMC General Counsel, he resided in Hsinchu, Taiwan. While at TSMC Dr. Thurston assisted the company in developing its best-in-class intellectual property and trade secret promotion and protection program (“PIP”). Furthermore, in developing TSMC’s litigation strategies, he successfully litigated around the world against defendants who had misappropriated TSMC trade secrets, such as China’s SMIC And, he was instrumental in achieving major legislative reform in Taiwan for the protection of trade secrets. Dick also managed TSMC’s compliance program, M&A activities including joint ventures/venture capital investments etc. He helped to establish TSMC’s best-in-class policies, protocols and procedures for semiconductor investments around the world, such as in China, Singapore and the US to name a few.
Upon retiring from TSMC, Dr. Thurston assumed a number of advisory roles, most recently as an independent member of the Board of Directors of Nantero, Inc. Dr. Thurston is also Principal at RLT Global Consulting, LLC.
Before joining TSMC, Dr. Thurston was a partner with Haynes and Boone, a Dallas, Texas-based law firm. There, he was Chairperson of the firm’s International Practice Section and he established their Richardson, TX office. Previously, he had been the Regional Counsel, Asia Pacific, and Vice President, Corporate Staff, Assistant General Counsel at Texas Instruments (1984-1996), resident in Dallas and Tokyo (1987-1990), where Dr. Thurston devoted significant efforts in: government relations in the semiconductor battles with both Japan and China; promoting and protecting TI’s intellectual property; corporate compliance; mergers and acquisitions; and international trade and investment, among other disciplines.
Dr. Thurston graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in History from Alma College (Alma, MI). He earned both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in East Asian Studies from the University of Virginia, where he was a Jefferson Scholar. Dick’s J.D. degree is from Rutgers School of Law – Camden, NJ. He also studied law at Soochow University (Taiwan) while researching his Ph.D. dissertation: Civil Law Reform in China, 1906-1930. Dr. Thurston has taught both law and business classes at: SMU School of Law (Dallas, TX); University of Texas, Dallas; Soochow University (Taiwan); National Chiao Tung University (Taiwan); and National Cheng-Chih University (Taiwan). Dick is admitted to the practice of law and a member of the respective Bar Associations of Texas, New Jersey, New York, and of Dutchess County, New York and NYC. He is fluent in Mandarin.
Dr. Thurston has written and lectured widely on international, transactional, and intellectual property matters, most especially trade secret protection. He has been interviewed and quoted widely on matters affecting US-Taiwan-China relations. He has received many awards and recognitions throughout his career. In 2013, he was selected from 800 nominees as the ILO Asia-Pacific General Counsel of the Year. Dick is fluent in Mandarin.
Dr. Thurston serves as the elected Town Supervisor of the Town of Wappinger, Dutchess County, NY. First elected in November 2017, Dr. Thurston is now in his sixth year of service to the Wappinger community. He is also a member of many volunteer organizations and takes special pride in his membership in the Rotary Club of Wappingers Falls, where he sits on the Board of Directors.
Dr. Thurston and his wife, Yvonne, reside in the Town of Wappinger, NY. He has two children and two grandchildren.