USPTO director Michelle Lee has resigned without warningMichelle Lee in 2014. (credit:
Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office Michelle Lee resigned today, without explanation.
Lee, who has been director of the office since 2014, was a favored candidate by the tech sector, who thought she brought a balanced approach to patents.
She is a former Google lawyer and was one of the first corporate lawyers to speak out about the problem of so-called “patent trolls.” Lee took office at a time when the tech sector was at odds with the pharmaceutical lobby and trial lawyers over a proposed patent-reform law, which did not end up passing.
Leadership at the USPTO has been unclear since the Trump administration transitioned into power in January. Early news reports said that Lee, an Obama appointee, would remain.

But that was followed by a period of a few months in which the USPTO wouldn’t even confirm who was director.
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