Michelle Lee backed as USPTO director by Senate committee

Michelle Lee backed as USPTO director by Senate committee


The US Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously on Thursday (February 26) to make former Google lawyer Michelle Lee director of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

michelle-lee-uspto.jpgLee (pictured left) currently serves as the USPTO’s deputy under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and deputy director, a role she took on in December 2013.

Before that she was director of the USPTO’s Silicon Valley satellite office, and prior to that worked as deputy general counsel for Google, where she was the company’s first head of patents and patent strategy.

The White House nominated Lee for the top job last October.

The position of USPTO director has been vacant for the last two years, since David Kappos stepped down in January 2013. Kappos, once a counsel for IBM, now works as a partner at law firm Cravath Swaine & Moore in New York.

Former American Intellectual Property Law Association president Teresa Rea was the USPTO’s acting director from February 2013 to November 2013.

Speaking at the US Senate Judiciary Committee’s executive business meeting on Thursday, Patrick Leahy, senator for the state of Vermont (Democrat party), said of the USPTO director role: “This position has been vacant for more than two years, which is far too long for an office that is so important to our nation’s innovators.

“Ms Lee has strong bipartisan support and I hope her confirmation will be taken up swiftly on the Senate floor.”

Lee’s appointment has yet to be confirmed by the full Senate.

(Source: WIPR)

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