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Deborah Sterling, Ph.D.



Deborah Sterling, Ph.D.

Deborah Sterling, Ph.D., is a director and chair of Sterne Kessler’s Biotechnology & Chemical Practice Group. Her practice is focused in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, where she is involved in all areas of patent procurement, exploitation and enforcement. Deborah’s experience includes representing clients in over 70 inter partes review and covered business method proceedings, and in multiple patent interferences and reexaminations. Her practice also includes counseling clients on intellectual property strategy, including evaluating patent portfolios, e.g., for invalidity, non-infringement, freedom-to-operate and due diligence analyses, and she has assisted clients in devising design-around strategies for issued patents. Deborah has also been involved in multiple pharmaceutical and biotechnology patent litigations, including those brought under the Hatch-Waxman Act.

Deborah’s intellectual property experience has been principally in technical areas such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, molecular biology, analytical instruments, agrochemicals and clean technology. She also counsels clients in emerging and regulated industries, including cannabinoid therapeutics. She has been recognized by Corporate LiveWire and was named "Biotechnology Lawyer of the Year, Washington, D.C." for her work.

Deborah is a contributing author of Patent Office Litigation, Second Edition, published in 2017, and the two-volume set Patent Office Litigation, published in 2012 by Thomson Reuters Westlaw. The first edition focuses on the new contested proceedings under the America Invents Act, while the second edition provides a fresh and comprehensive exploration of these proceedings. Both books examine how the proceedings interact with other aspects of patent procurement and enforcement, and deliver practical analysis and advice. She is also a contributing author on the “Patentability Challenges at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office” chapter in the Patent Litigation Strategies Handbook, 4th ed. published by the ABA in 2015.

Deborah is the Chairperson of the firm's Professional Development Committee.

Deborah earned her J.D. from George Mason University School of Law, her Ph.D. in molecular and cellular physiology from the University of Alberta, and her B.S., with first class honours, in biochemistry from Heriot-Watt University.


George Mason University School of Law
Molecular and Cellular Physiology
University of Alberta
Heriot-Watt University
first class honours