Head of US Patent Office Michelle Lee Will Remain Under President Trump

By Eamon J Jawatin | Mar 08, 2017 04:24 AM EST

The US Patent and Trademark Office has offered the main sign in weeks about who's in control. Recently, at an occasion for legal counselors who rehearse at USPTO, Michelle Lee was presented as the director. 

Lee has been running the workplace for a several years, so such a presentation would ordinarily be a definitive non-occasion. In any case, yesterday's affirmation comes following half a month amid which the workplace declined to answer a basic question - Who is the director of the US Patent and Trademark Office?

After the inauguration of President Donald Trump last January, DC-centric publications including The Hill and Politico revealed that Lee, former Google attorney who is supported by the tech part, would stay in her office.

But several weeks after, the USPTO director position keeps listed as "vacant" on the Commerce Department's website. Official USPTO spokespersons apparently declined to give any comments to any media, IP Watchdog reported.

In other news, other candidates including a former Federal Circuit judge, have expressed their interests to the said position. Earlier in March, the office even postponed the statements to a FOIA request for revealing the new director. Instead, the patent office requested a deferral until March 10, referring to an area of the law that takes into account delay in unusual circumstances.  

Lee has had two authority appearances, for now, revealed by Law360 and IP Watchdog blogger Gene Quinn. The Patent Public Advisory Commission (PPAC), a panel of nine nationals that instructs the Patent Office on administration regarding its operations, held an open meeting at the primary USPTO grounds in Alexandria, Virginia.

After cancelling public appearances for numerous times, Lee has showed up, gave introductory statements, as well as announcing a keynote address at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board Bar Association meeting - when she was presented as director.

On Monday last week, Wilbur Ross was affirmed as Secretary of Commerce. Regardless of whether Lee stays or goes will be an intense first sign of which course the Trump Administration plans to take patent and IP arrangements. In any case, questions will remain lingering about what caused such delays and perplexity in USPTO staffing.

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