[Ex head of patents at Google and] U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director Michelle Lee has resigned, administration sources confirm to POLITICO….
Lee’s appointment by Obama — after a two-year vacancy in the post — was seen at the time as something of a coup for the technology industry, given her background at Google. There have long been tensions between Silicon Valley and the pharmaceutical industry over the office’s handling of patents.
During his confirmation hearing in January to be Trump’s pick to head the Commerce Department, Ross praised aspects of Lee’s tenure, in particular her navigation of potential conflicts of interest with Google, her former employer of nearly a decade….
The following month, a coalition of industry groups and tech companies — including Google, Facebook and Amazon — encouraged Trump to retain Lee as director. “We have been very pleased with the leadership of Director Lee, who has been committed to making sure that the USPTO creates the maximum economic benefit for American inventors and businesses,” the letter read.