Tracy-Gene Durkin Image

Tracy-Gene Durkin

Partner, Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C.

Tracy-Gene G. Durkin is the practice leader of Sterne Kessler’s Mechanical & Design Practice Group and a member of the Trademark & Brand Protection Practice. Tracy has a well-earned reputation for excellence in design patent law. In 2018, Financial Times named her as one of the “Top Ten Legal Innovators in North America,” noting her as “a leading authority on design patents.” Tracy has been named among Chambers & Partners’ “recognized practitioners” in the IP Patent Prosecution, District of Columbia category. Among Tracy’s additional rankings in 2018, Legal 500 recognized her as a “Recommended Lawyer” in the U.S. for assisting a world leader in the consumer electronics space “with the development and implementation of its global design patent strategy, including the coordination of patent filings in over twenty countries worldwide.” Intellectual Asset Management’s “IAM Patent 1000” declared Tracy is the “design doyenne,” and World Trademark Review’s (WTR) annual WTR 1000 editors wrote that Tracy is particularly known for operating “at the vanguard of design patent law” and that she has “an affinity for matters at the intersection of trademarks, trade dress and design protection.” Tracy has also been heralded by WTR editors for being “as innovative as the products that she protects.”



Recent Articles by Tracy-Gene Durkin

New USPTO Director Quickly Focuses on Much Needed Protection of Virtual Designs

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) new director wasted no time getting down to business in terms of protecting design innovation in the United States. Only two days after being sworn in, Director Kathi Vidal announced the release of the USPTO’s Summary of public views on the article of manufacture requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 171. This report summarized public comments received in response to a December 2020 request by the USPTO. It is fitting to see the USPTO giving attention to protecting design innovation in new and emerging technologies since, as Director Vidal noted, design patents have been shown to provide a “catalyst for growth” and a “competitive edge” for U.S. manufacturers. With advancements in technology since the USPTO first issued guidelines for examining computer-generated designs in 1996, the Office wisely sought the public’s comments on whether its approach to 35 USC § 171’s requirement that a design be for an article of manufacture should be revised to account for new and emerging technologies.

World Intellectual Property Indicators 2017: Design Patent Highlights

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has published its annual World Intellectual Property Indicators. For the second consecutive year, the number of design applications filed worldwide continued to grow, with an estimated 963,100 applications filed in total globally. The 2016 growth rate was 10.4%, following 2015’s more modest growth rate of 2.3% and 2014’s 10.2% drop in applications. 90% of the growth in 2016 can be attributed to increased filings in China.