Patent Office Director Michelle Lee Resigns

Had headed office since 2015

Michelle Lee has resigned as head of the Patent & Trademark Office.

Lee's official title was Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which is under the Department of Commerce.

“We thank Michelle Lee for her service to her country and to the Department of Commerce," said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.  "As the first woman in our country’s history to serve as Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Michelle has worked tirelessly to serve our stakeholders and the American public. We wish her well in her next endeavor.”

Lee had been in the post since March 2015, when she moved from deputy director to director, after she had essentially been heading the office as deputy director following the departure of David Kappos in 2013. Before that, she was director of its Silicon Valley office in 2012-2013. From 2003 to 2012 she was deputy general counsel and head of patents and patent strategy at Google.

As its name suggests, the PTO grants patents and registers trademarks as well as advising the President, Ross, and other government agencies on intellectual property protection and enforcement.