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



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.

Tracy is 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.

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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