Michelle Lee confirmed to take the helm of the patent office

USPTO Deputy Director Michelle Lee, speaking here at the American Intellectual Property Law Association’s annual meeting last year, has been confirmed to lead the agency. (USPTO)

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For the first time in two years, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will have an official director.

The Senate cleared Michelle Lee, the patent office’s deputy director and de facto head, to take on the top job. She will replace David Kappos, who left the position in 2013.

The White House nominated Lee last fall, and she underwent two nearly identical confirmation hearings with the Senate Judiciary Committee, during which she answer questions about reports questioning the viability of the agency’s telework program, improving the quality of patents issued and cutting into the looming backlog of patent applications.

Like her predecessor, who held several top posts at IBM, Lee has a tech background. Lee is Google’s former deputy general counsel and head of patents and patent strategy. She also served as the first director of USPTO’s Silicon Valley outpost.

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