13 March 2017
Virginia
Reporter: Barney Dixon
Michelle Lee remains USPTO director
Michelle Lee appears set to continue in her role as head of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) under US President Donald Trump.

In a 10 March response to attorney Gary Shuster’s Freedom of Information Act request with the office, the USPTO confirmed Lee’s position “as a matter of administrative discretion”.

Shuster, who is senior counsel at Coleman & Horowitt in California, requested that the agency provide any document written by or on behalf of Lee constituting a resignation from office, a request to withdraw a resignation from office, or a request to retain her position.

He also asked the agency to provide the most current document identifying the director or acting director of the USPTO, as well as any written instructions received between Trump’s inauguration date (20 January) and the date of the request (26 January), regarding the deletion of any data from websites operated by or on behalf of the USPTO.

The USPTO was required to answer the request by 24 February, but that deadline was extended by 10 working days to 10 March, under Section 102.6(c) of the Freedom of Information Act, which allows for extensions under “unusual circumstances”.

This follows nearly three months of silence regarding the matter following Trump’s inauguration.

The US Department of Commerce’s leadership page still shows Lee’s position as undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property and USPTO director as vacant.

Though it remains unclear whether Lee will stay as director throughout the Trump administration, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) said it supported her continuing role.

Ed Black, president and CEO of the CCIA, said: “This is a wise decision, bringing continuity to critical issues at a critical time.”

“It supports the patent office’s ongoing efforts to improve patent quality under Michelle Lee’s leadership.”

More news
The latest news from IPPro Patents
Join Our Newsletter

Sign up today and never
miss the latest news or an issue again

Subscribe now
Google and Intertrust launch PatentShield
28 April 2017 | Mountainview | Reporter: Barney Dixon
The patent programme aims to give startups a way out of aggressive patent litigation
Industry associations voice support for USPTO’s Lee
28 April 2017 | Virginia | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Lee has been able to “expertly balance the needs and interests” of all stakeholders
Brunel University London scientists develop prior art checker
28 April 2017 | London | Reporter: Mark Dugdale
The tool, which currently has the working title of the Design Assistant for Semantic Comparison of Intellectual Property, could prevent costly patent litigation
Alston & Bird hires experienced patent litigator
27 April 2017 | New York | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Paul Tanck has joined the firm as partner in New York
Patent dance question to be heard today
26 April 2017 | Washington DC | Reporter: Barney Dixon
A decision either way could lead to a firmer definition of the ‘patent dance’ procedure
Green Mountain Glass wins $50.3 Million from rival
25 April 2017 | Delaware | Reporter: Mark Dugdale
The award for wilful infringement was handed down on 21 April. Green Mountain Glass’s patent covers technology that allows glass manufacturers to use recycled glass of mixed colours
McGuireWoods snags ITC expert
24 April 2017 | Washington DC | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Steven Adkins has joined the firm’s Washington DC office as partner