Michelle Lee Resigns from U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, Successor Chosen

Only two years after being appointed as Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Michelle Lee has decided to resign. She did not cite any specific reasons for her resignation.

Before becoming the Director of the USPTO, Lee was the head of Google’s patent practice. It is believed that President Obama appointed her to the USPTO Director’s position out of a belief that her experience with Google would help open the door to an influx of technology-related patents. Given the length of pendency of patent applications, it may only be possible to make a determination of her impact in retrospect after a few years have passed.

A day after Lee announced her resignation, the Commerce Department chose a temporary successor who could end up becoming the official new Director of the USPTO: Joseph Matal. Since Matal’s placement has been announced as only temporary, no Senate confirmation is necessary. Matal’s own background includes more than four years at the patent office, during which he was assigned to represent the USPTO for several patent and trademark cases that went to federal court.

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Posted in USPTO.