Former Google exec Michelle Lee is now running the U.S. patent office
Michelle Lee is a former executive at Google that has been named as the deputy director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). She will run the Patent office until a new director is named. Lee is a former deputy general counsel and was the head of patents and patent strategy at Google. Lee will be starting the job on January 13th. The Patent office has been lacking a director since David Kappos stepped down to focus on a private practice. Acting director Teresa Stanek Rea stepped down from the Patent office as well.
Lee will be focused on overseeing the large backlog of unexamined patents and work on improving patent quality. Patent quality has been heavily criticized as the number of patent lawsuits have been filed amongst large and small tech companies, including Google themselves.
“None of the policy positions of my former employers has guided my work,” stated Lee. “I certainly would be very welcoming of everybody’s input.” Lee has received an engineering degree from MIT and a law degree from Stanford University.
As of December 2011, the unexamined patent backlog was at almost 722,000 patents. It went down to 591,665 applications last August and now the latest number is 590,070.