Mountain View, CA (December 16, 2013) – On December 11, former Fenwick & West partner Michelle Lee was appointed Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), effective January 13, 2014. She will be acting as Director of the USPTO until a new director is nominated by President Obama to fill the currently vacant post.
Lee began her legal career as a summer associate at Fenwick 20 years ago. Following a brief stint as a patent litigator, Lee returned to Fenwick’s intellectual property group, becoming a partner shortly thereafter.
“Michelle’s combination of deep technical training, excellent legal skills and brilliant mind made her a powerful asset to our firm," said partner David Hayes, chair of Fenwick’s intellectual property group. "That combination of skills together with her subsequent experience in both the private and public sectors will enable her to have a significant impact in her new role at the center of our nation’s intellectual property system and innovation economy.”
After five years as a partner at Fenwick, Lee decided to join a client of the firm, Google. There she served as Deputy General Counsel and became Google’s first Head of Patents & Patent Strategy. In that role, she became heavily involved in patent policy and reform issues, serving two terms on the USPTO’s Patent Public Advisory Committee. Last year, she became the Director of the new Silicon Valley branch of the USPTO.
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