Mind + Muscle

technical minds + legal muscle

Sterne Kessler Goldstein Fox
Named 2016 "Intellectual Property Trailblazer" by the National Law Journal
Named 2013 - 2016 "IP Star" by Managing Intellectual Property

Recognized in Intellectual Asset Management magazine's "IAM Patent 1000 2016"

"Without a doubt the country's leading authority on design patents."

IAM Patent 1000 2015

Tracy-Gene G. Durkin

Mind + Muscle

Tracy-Gene G. Durkin



Tracy Durkin has a well-earned reputation for excellence in design patent law. In 2015, Intellectual Asset Management noted in their annual "IAM 1000" ranking that Ms. Durkin is "without a doubt the country's leading authority on design patents." The 2014 World Trademark Review’s annual rankings said that Ms. Durkin is particularly noted for her "smart, responsive, and value-oriented" approach, as well as her "knowledge of design patents, brand development strategies, and eliminating copycat consumer products from the marketplace to prevent the devaluation of IP rights." Since 2013, Ms. Durkin has been listed annually among Managing Intellectual Property's "IP Stars" for her counseling practice, and in 2013, the publication  named her as one of the "Top 250 Women in IP." A trailblazer, Ms. Durkin achieved a Martindale AV Preeminent Peer Rating of 5.0/5.0 in 2011, a recognition fewer than 5% of women lawyers have earned, and was named as one of the “Top Women Lawyers in the Northeast.”

Tracy leads the Mechanical and Design Patent Group at Sterne Kessler. With nearly thirty years of experience obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights, she is sought out by leading consumer product companies, by colleagues around the world for her deep understanding of utility and design patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Tracy crafts and delivers unique IP protection strategies, designed to meet individual client's needs. Her expertise includes helping clear new products and trademarks for use in the marketplace, selecting appropriate IP protection, and enforcing such protection through mediation, litigation, and licensing.

Ms. Durkin has represented companies in patent, trademark, and copyright disputes before Federal District Courts, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the International Trade Commission, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.  She has successfully represented both complainants and respondents before the World Intellectual Property Office in domain name arbitrations. Her prior experience working at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office gives her unique insight into arguing difficult cases and negotiating with examiners in personal interviews. She has served as an expert witness in patent disputes in District Court litigation and before the International Trade Commission on the issues of design patents and U.S. Patent & Trademark Office practice and procedures.

Ms. Durkin is a contributing author of Patent Office Litigation, Second Edition, published in 2017, the book provides a fresh and comprehensive exploration of patent office litigation proceedings, including how the proceedings interact with other aspects of patent procurement and enforcement, while delivering practical analysis and advice. This second edition of Patent Office Litigation is the follow up to the first version of the book that was published in 2012 by Thomson Reuters Westlaw that focused on the contested proceedings that were introduced under the America Invents Act that year. Tracy also is a member of the 2016 Intellectual Property Law360 Editorial Advisory Board. As a member, she gives feedback on Law360's coverage and provides insight in the field on how best to shape future coverage.

Tracy has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at George Mason University Law School in Virginia and has spoken internationally on topics, such as the interplay between design patents and trade dress, protection of user interface and the user experience, The Hague Agreement, trademark co-branding and licensing, IP audits and mediation. She is currently a vice chair of the Industrial Designs Committee of IP Section of the American Bar Association, and past vice chair of the Industrial Designs Committee of the Intellectual Property Owners Association and past chair of the Industrial Designs Committee of the American Intellectual Property Law Association.

Tracy's leadership at the firm includes  her current role as practice group leader. She was the first woman elected equity director to the firm in 1994, and is the first woman to serve on the firm's executive committee, where she served three terms. A leader in the legal community, Tracy is a past president of the Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia and of The Women's Bar Association Foundation, two organizations in which she continues active membership. In 2015, she was elected to the board of the  Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. 

  • Admissions
      • United States Supreme Court

      • United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

      • United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia

      • United States District Court for the District of Columbia

      • United States District Court for the District of Maryland

      • District of Columbia Court of Appeals

      • United States Patent and Trademark Office

  • Education
    • J.D., The George Washington University

    • B.S., Textile Manufacturing and Marketing, Philadelphia University (formerly Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science) cum laude


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