Mind + Muscle

technical minds + legal muscle

Sterne Kessler Goldstein Fox
"Without a doubt the country's leading authority on design patents"
IAM Patent 1000 2015

Named 2013, 2014 "IP Star" by Managing Intellectual Property

"When Phillips Seafood needed to establish a complete and effective IP program, we turned to Sterne Kessler.  They conducted a formal inventory of our IP and helped us wrap our arms around a valuable asset.  Having them on top of this project allowed me to focus on other legal issues and be confident that our valuable IP was completely under control.  They also trained our legal and marketing teams to be on the lookout for ways to add value to our IP portfolio, which has now expanded to include dozens of registered trademarks and several pending patents."


Melissa S. Sellers, Esq.
Former Vice President and General Counsel
Phillips Foods and Seafood Restaurants


Tracy-Gene G. Durkin

Mind + Muscle

Tracy-Gene G. Durkin



Ms. Durkin leads the Mechanical Patent and Trademark Group at the firm.  With over twenty years of experience obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights, she is sought out by leading consumer product companies for her expertise with utility and design patents, trademarks, and copyrights to create a unique IP protection strategy to meet their individual needs.  Ms. Durkin’s experience 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. 

Recognized as one of the leading prosecution and strategy attorneys in Washington, DC, 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” (World Trademark Review 1000, 2014).  Ms. Durkin has achieved a Martindale AV Preeminent Peer Rating of 5.0/5.0, a recognition fewer than 5% of women lawyers have achieved, and was named to the “2011 Top Women Lawyers in the Northeast” based on this rating. In 2013, Ms. Durkin was named one of the "Top 250 Women in IP" by Managing Intellectual Property.

Ms. Durkin is also a contributing author of the chapter "Design Patents" in Patent Office Litigationa two-volume treatise focused on the new contested proceedings under the America Invents Act published in 2012 by Thomson Reuters Westlaw. This book examines how the proceedings interact with other aspects of patent procurement and enforcement, and delivers practical analysis and advice.

Ms. Durkin has represented companies in patent, trademark and copyright disputes before Federal District Courts, the 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 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, 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.

In addition to her current role as practice group leader at Sterne Kessler, she is the first woman elected equity director and is the first woman to serve on the firm's executive committee, where she served three terms. Active in community service, she is the immediate past president of The Women's Bar Association Foundation and a past president of the Women's Bar Association 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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