Michelle K. Lee
|Michelle K. Lee|
|Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property|
March 12, 2015 – June 6, 2017
|Preceded by||David Kappos|
|Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office|
January 13, 2014 – June 6, 2017
|Preceded by||David Kappos|
|Born||1965 (age 51–52)
Santa Clara, California, United States
Michelle Kwok Lee (born 1965 in Santa Clara, California) is the former Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Michelle Lee built her own television as a child. During her senate confirmation hearing, Lee testified that she was first exposed to technology and innovation when she built a Heath Kit Radio with her father. 
Education and pre-PTO career
Lee simultaneously obtained a B.S. in electrical engineering and an M.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1989; her master's thesis was on qualitative behavior and nonlinear circuits. She obtained her J.D. from Stanford University School of Law in 1992.
She served as a clerk for two federal judges: Vaughn R. Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and Paul R. Michel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Prior to joining the USPTO, she was an attorney with the law firm of Keker & Van Nest, and partner at Fenwick & West. She served as Deputy General Counsel and Head of Patents and Patent Strategy for Google from 2003 to 2012. While at Google, she co-founded Chief IP Counsels (ChIPs), a networking organization for female patent attorneys.
Lee's first position with the USPTO was as Director of the Office's’s Silicon Valley satellite office. She was appointed Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director on January 13, 2014.
In October 2014, President Barack Obama announced that he intended to nominate Lee to the office of Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, heading the USPTO on a permanent basis. Obama officially nominated Lee on November 11, and her initial confirmation hearing was held December 10. However, Congress adjourned without her confirmation, and the nomination was returned to the President on December 17.
Under Senate rules, in order for Lee to be confirmed, Obama needed to re-nominate her to the Senate of the 114th Congress, and he did so on January 8, 2015. Her second confirmation hearing was held January 21, and the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously in favor of her confirmation on February 26.
Lee was confirmed by the full Senate by voice vote on March 9, 2015, and took the oath of office on March 12, when she was sworn in by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.
Lee resigned from the PTO on June 6, 2017.
- "Michelle Kwok Lee - Lawyer Profile". martindale.com. LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
- Lee, Michelle Kwok (October 28, 2014). "Questionnaire for Non-Judicial Nominees". judiciary.senate.gov. U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
- Erik Larson “Silicon Valley Counsel: Google's Michelle Lee”, Law360, 27 July 2006
- "Michelle K. Lee". uspto.gov. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
- Lee, Michelle Kwok (May 11, 1989). Summarizing Qualitative Behavior from Measurements of Nonlinear Circuits (M.Sc. thesis). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. OCLC 20639817. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
- Straehley, Steve (November 22, 2014). "Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: Who Is Michelle K. Lee?". allgov.com. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
- "Former Google IP Counsel Michelle Lee to Head PTO as Director Search Continues". bloomberglaw.com. Bloomberg. December 11, 2013.
- Samuels, Diana (March 2, 2012). "General Counsel Winner (IP Lawyer): Lee leads Google's efforts to improve nation's patent system". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
- "U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Names Michelle K. Lee as Next Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office". uspto.gov. USPTO. December 11, 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- Scola, Nancy (October 16, 2014). "Obama nominates former Google exec to lead U.S. Patent Office". Washington Post. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
- "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". The White House. October 17, 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
- Presidential nomination no. 2103, Michelle K. Lee, of California, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, vice David J. Kappos, resigned, 113th Congress, November 11, 2014. Accessed January 7, 2015.
- Scola, Nancy (December 10, 2014). "Obama’s pick to head the Patent Office has Congress’s support. She just doesn’t have its approval.". The Switch. Washington Post. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
- Presidential nomination no. 61, Michelle K. Lee, of California, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, vice David J. Kappos, resigned, 114th Congress, January 8, 2015. Accessed March 6, 2015.
- Sasso, Brendan; Volz, Dustin; Ryan, Laura (January 15, 2015). "Republicans Outline Net Neutrality Bill". National Journal. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
- Brachmann, Steve (January 22, 2015). "Michelle Lee confirmation hearing brings questions on fee shifting, post-grant proceedings". IP Watchdog. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
- Quinn, Gene (February 27, 2015). "Senate Judiciary Unanimously Approves Michelle Lee". IP Watchdog. Retrieved March 6, 2015.
- Carney, Jordain; Trujillo, Mario (March 9, 2015). "Senate approves former Google executive for patent chief". The Hill. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
- Schwartz, Eric Hal (March 13, 2015). "New Patent Office Director Sworn In by Commerce Secretary at SXSW". DCInno. Streetwise Media. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
- Scola, Nancy; Zhou, Li (June 6, 2017). "Patent Office Director Michelle Lee resigns". Politico. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- Michelle K. Lee, official biography at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
- Presidential Nomination no. 2103, 113th Congress, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee
- Presidential Nomination no. 61, 114th Congress, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee
Teresa Stanek Rea
|Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office
January 13, 2014 - present