Debra is a Florida Bar Board Certified Intellectual Property lawyer who practices in the areas of intellectual property, contests and sweepstakes, media, technology and telecommunications. Her intellectual property practice includes litigation matters, trademark and copyright registrations, technology-related licensing and domain name registrations and disputes. She has taken multimillion-dollar intellectual property cases through jury trial and federal appeals and regularly practices in front of the TTAB. Debra is widely experienced in federal and state trademark and copyright searching, monitoring, application prosecution, registration, maintenance, portfolio management, enforcement and defense of intellectual property.  

Debra has an extensive trademark practice wherein she has prosecuted hundreds of trademark applications for a variety of national and international clients. These services include availability searches and infringement opinions, filing and prosecuting applications and coordinating and managing international foreign trademark portfolios. Debra also handles oppositions and cancellation proceedings in front of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board as well as ICANN proceedings in front the National Arbitration Forum and WIPO.  

Debra regularly advises clients on the administration and statutory requirements of contests and sweepstakes, including games of chance and contests of skill. She works closely with clients throughout the process to ensure that every aspect of the marketing promotion achieves the client’s goals and fulfills the client’s obligations under applicable laws.

In addition, Debra is certified as a Florida Supreme Court circuit court mediator in intellectual property disputes, technology, and contract disputes. 

Debra is experienced in various aspects of media law including access to public records, open meetings, prepublication and prebroadcast review, newsgathering advice, defamation, privacy claims and defends against subpoenas to reporters. Further, she is skilled in the privacy and security aspects of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

  • Background

    Debra was born and raised in Gainesville, Florida and is a fourth generation Ohio State University graduate. 

    While in law school, Debra earned an Intellectual Property Certificate and a book award in International Intellectual Property.

  • Admissions
    • All state courts in Florida
    • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
    • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
    • U.S. Court of Appeal, 11th Circuit
    •  U.S. Supreme Court
  • Education
    • The Ohio State University, B.A., telecommunications with a concentration in new technology
    • University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, M.A.M.C. (with high honors)
    • University of Florida College of Law, J.D., intellectual property certificate (with honors
  • Professional Associations and Memberships
    • The Florida Bar
      • Board Certified in Intellectual Property Law
      • Business Law Section
      • Young Lawyers Division
    • Florida Supreme Court
      • Certified Circuit Court Mediator
    • Hillsborough County Bar Association
      • Intellectual Property
      • Young Lawyers Division
    • American Bar Association
      • Litigation
      • Intellectual Property
      • Forum on Communications Law 
  • Awards and Recognitions
    • Best Lawyers in America, 2015-2024
      • Copyright Law
        • Lawyer of the Year, 2017
      • Litigation - Intellectual Property
      • Trademark Law
    • Florida Super Lawyers, 2015-2024
      • Rising Star, 2010-2014
    • Florida Trend, Legal Elite, 2015-2016, 2018
    • "World’s Leading Trademark Professionals" list by World Trademark Review, 2019
  • Articles and Publications
    • "Flash of a Red Sole: High Stakes for High Heels," Hillsborough County Bar Association Intellectual Property Section, Lawyer Magazine, November 2012
    • "New Jersey's Shield Law May Not Protect Journalists Who Disclose Information," Media and Communications, Newsletter, August/September 2007
    • "Florida Judge Orders State Child Welfare Agency to Turn Over Abuse Records," Media and Communications, Newsletter, June/July 2007
    • "Texas Court Won't Hear Internet Defamation Case," Media and Communications, Newsletter, March 2007
    • "Court Dismisses Billion-Dollar HIV Disclosure Suit Against Newspaper," Media and Communications, Newsletter, April/May 2006
    • "HIV Disclosure Leads to Billion-Dollar Suit Against Dallas Newspaper," MLRC MediaLawLetter, September 2004
  • Presentations and Seminars
    • "Trademark Protection for Disparaging and Scandalous Marks," Hillsborough County Bar Association Intellectual Property Section, February 13, 2019
    • "Hot Topics in Trademark Law," The Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education Committee and Business Law Section 6th Annual Intellectual Property Law Symposium, March 5-6, 2015
    • Changes to USPTO Rules for Professional Responsibility Business Law Sections, Boca Raton, September 2013
    • "INTA Roundtable on Trademarks in Regulated Industries," GrayRobinson, Intellectual Property and Alcohol Industry Teams, Tampa, Florida, April 16, 2013
    • "What’s All the Buzz About? — A Panel Discussion of the 2011 Cases and Legislation That IP Practitioners Are Blogging About," Hillsborough County Bar Association Intellectual Property Section, November 2, 2011
    • "Hurricane Protection Meets Idea Protection: Securing Your Company's Intellectual Property Rights," World of Hurricane Protection Conference, April 2008
    • "Avoid Contest and Promotion ‘Wrecks,’" Marketing Drive 2009, October 2008