Michelle Lee will Remain Head of USPTO under President Trump


The inauguration of the new U.S. President, Donald Trump, comes with major transitions for a number of government offices. Although there has been no official announcement, it appears the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will not be one of them. Michelle Lee, director at the USPTO, will reportedly remain in her role under the new administration.

Despite speculation that Lee would step down or be replaced after President Trump took office, The Hill reported that Michelle Lee will remain as the USPTO director under President Trump. Politico reported the same news, sourcing it to statements by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and confirming it with other unnamed sources.

According to Politico, Representative Darrell Issa informed tech industry organisations gathered in Washington on Thursday, January 19, of the news. Reportedly his comments were confirmed by two Politico sources in attendance and a congressional aide.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), an organisation of which Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft are members, welcomed the news.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“This is a wise decision, bringing continuity to critical issues at a critical time. It supports the patent office’s ongoing efforts to improve patent quality under Lee’s leadership. Lee comes from the tech industry and has a deep understanding of patents and how to support both current innovators and next generation innovation.”

The following can be attributed to CCIA patent counsel Matt Levy:

“Michelle Lee has started a number of programs to enhance patent quality, and it’s important that those programs be allowed to continue. With Director Lee continuing on, those programs will have the chance to produce real improvements in the patents the USPTO issues. There is still much work remaining to streamline and enhance the process of reviewing patent applications, and I think that Director Lee has shown that she is someone who can move that work forward. There are also major infrastructure projects that will take years to complete. Director Lee has also shown a commitment to transparency and communication with industry that we are glad will continue.

Beth Provenzano, co-chair of the United for Patent Reform coalition also stated in an e-mailed statement. “Director Lee has worked to improve the tools that allow innovative business to defend themselves against truly frivolous litigation.”

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About Ufuoma Akpotaire 312 Articles
Ufuoma is a Senior Editor and Director of Regulatory Policy at NLIPW. She assists clients in the protection of copyrights, trademarks and patents. She counsels clients regarding validity and infringement matters and has experience acting against the infringement of IP and addressing counterfeit issues. She holds a Masters degree (LL.M.) from Columbia Law School, New York and a law degree from the University of Nigeria (LL.B. Honors). She is admitted to practice law in Nigeria and in the State of New York. Ufuoma cut her teeth in the intellectual property practice groups of some of the largest law firms in Nigeria and has years of experience working with major non-profit organizations in New York. Email: uakpotaire@nlipw.com