Sheryl Koval Garko, a principal with Fish & Richardson, focuses her intellectual properties practice on trademark, copyright and trade secret litigation. She helps clients, from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, protect their brands, copyrighted works, and trade secrets. While working with clients to avoid litigation, Garko also prepares to successfully defend them when the need arises.

For ten years, Garko has served as IP counsel for New Balance, one of the world’s largest manufacturers and distributors of athletic footwear and apparel. She recently secured a major victory for New Balance, and its iconic PF Flyers sneaker brand, in a case that has significance for the entire industry. It invalidated the trade dress for certain design elements. The case, which was named the top trademark ruling of 2016 by a leading industry magazine, is currently on appeal in the Federal Circuit.

Garko was a special assistant district attorney for Middlesex County in 2008 and received the New England Diversity Counsel Leadership Excellence Award in 2015. A member of the Boston IP Inn of Court, an invitation-only honorary bar association, she also serves as the national litigation marketing leader at Fish & Richardson.

“Working my way up to become a principal at the nation’s number one IP litigation firm and being recognized as one of the leading practitioners in my field, but still able to spend lots of quality time with my daughter, is my most significant accomplishment,” observes Garko.

“I have gained success by following in the footsteps of the women who came before me. I had excellent mentors,” she continues. “I now strive to be one of those mentors to the more junior women I work with and empower them on their path forward.” Garko assures younger women that it gets easier. “You need to look at the long-term picture as you evaluate your career path.”

Like many others, Garko thinks diversity is important. “It leads to a better work product,” she says. “The more diverse the people are at the table, the more diverse the viewpoints discussed, and the more creative and thoughtful the process becomes.”