Excellence in Design Patent Law

With a global reputation for excellence in design patent law, Tracy Durkin is sought out by leading consumer product companies for her expertise with utility and design patents, trademarks and copyrights.

Durkin is a director with Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, where she heads the firms’ Mechanical Patent and Trademark Group. With three decades of experience obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights, she has evolved into a leading authority with a deep understanding of utility and design patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

Back in 1994, she was the first woman elected equity director to the firm and is the first woman to serve on its executive committee, where she has served three terms. As a leader in the legal community, Durkin is a past president of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia and the Women’s Bar Association Foundation, two organizations in which she continues active membership.

Colleagues say she leads by example with setting high standards for professionalism and ethics. “I tell all young associates that the key to making it to the top as a lawyer in private practice is to realize it is a career not a job, and that you have to create your own path,” Durkin said.  “The more you are dependent on the success or failure of others, the less control you have over your own destiny.”

Durkin is highly ranked by respected, national and international legal publications. Most recently, The National Law Journal recognized her as an “Intellectual Property Trailblazer.”

She describes being a woman in the legal profession as lonely. “I am still often the only women in the room at important meetings. While I feel privileged to have made it to a level in my career where I am at those meetings, it still seems strange in this day and age that more women are not there too,” she said.

Durkin is a vice chair of the Industrial Designs Committee of the IP Section of the American Bar Association, and is on the board of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. She is 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. Durkin has also been an Adjunct Professor of Law at George Mason University Law School and has spoken internationally on topics such as the interplay between design patents and trade dress, protection of user interface and the user experience, and The Hague Agreement.

She holds a BS in textile manufacturing from Philadelphia University and a law degree from the George Washington University.