Posts Tagged: "Michelle Lee"

Michelle Lee continues to sign issued patents, possible larger Administration role suggested

According to an update given by Issa to Politico, Lee has been held over by the Trump Administration and she might be in line for some Administration position outside of the Patent Office… All of this cloak and dagger secrecy surrounding Michelle Lee and the circumstances relating to her resignation and/or being held over is extraordinarily weird. The mixed signals and continued refusal to comment, coupled with the Director’s position being either vacant or held by Lee are leading some to question what is going on, and whether there is a much more serious problem lurking.

Provenance of U.S. patents in question as they continue to carry signature of Michelle Lee

Sources tell me that the USPTO was prepared last week to issue patents with the signature of Drew Hirshfeld, who is the Commissioner of Patents and seems to be current Acting Director, but at the last minute a decision was made to revert back to Michelle Lee’s signature. This creates several significant problems. First, if Lee is not currently the Director patents that are being issued with her signature are being issued in violation of §153. If we know anything about patent litigators it is that they raise every challenge possible, and it is only a matter of time before the provenance of patents issued during the Trump Administration are challenged as being invalid. I don’t suspect such an invalidity challenge will ultimately prevail, but how many patent owners are going to have to spend many tens of thousands of dollars to fight that challenge?

Michelle Lee’s views on patent quality out of touch with reality facing patent applicants

In the piece, Lee tries her best to assure readers that positive developments have been made at the USPTO in recent years, but at multiple points she seems blind to major issues that have plagued U.S. patent system stakeholders during her tenure… Perhaps the most abrasive thing Lee stated in her editorial was this: “Our stakeholders share my belief, and that of my USPTO colleagues, that there is a cost to society when this agency issues a patent that should not issue…” No, Ms. Lee, a great many stakeholders do NOT share your belief. They don’t share your belief primarily because by making this statement you shine light on a largely fictitious problem while simultaneously ignoring the real problem facing the Office, which is that patent examiners refuse to issue any patents at all on good, high quality innovations that deserve patent protection.

Patent Office still not commenting on Michelle Lee or whether agency now has an Acting Director

Sally Yates proves in a very public way why it is a mistake to allow political appointees from the Obama Administration to be held over. But for every public affront how many private episodes will occur where Obama appointees will seek to undermine President Trump? The risk doesn’t seem worth the reward when there are many very capable individuals available and interested. In the patent world, for example, both Phil Johnson and Randall Rader are Republicans. Both have very long and distinguished careers in the patent field. Both Johnson and Rader would clearly take the Patent Office in a new direction and deliver on the Trump campaign promise to Make America Great Again. There are no doubt others who are highly qualified who would also do the same, while being ideologically aligned with the President and the Republican party. So why is there a need to keep Michelle Lee?

The Uncertain Status of Michelle Lee Wounds the Patent System, Causes Political Anxiety

Going to DEFCON 1 has no doubt begun, and will only continue, as those who are opposed to Lee staying continue to publicly explain why she must go. As this story continues to drag out there will be more of this, and if she is nominated to serve as Director those that oppose her will be extremely well organized and will mount a significant challenge to her confirmation. The groundwork is already being laid. It could get very ugly I’m afraid, which would only divide the industry and seriously wound whoever is ultimately given the job.

Cruel and Unusual: Rumors swirl, still no answer on PTO Director

Fresh rumors surfaced late last night, however, suggesting that Commissioner for Patents Drew Hirshfeld is currently Acting Director of the USPTO. Two independent sources also told us that an internal candidate has been elevated to the position of Deputy Director of the USPTO, although it is not known whether that is on a permanent or temporary basis. It is believed that the Deputy Director of the USPTO is now Anthony Scardino, who was previously serving as Chief Financial Officer at the USPTO… Whatever the resolution of this matter is, this sad chapter in USPTO history has been grossly unfair to Michelle Lee. Either she is Director or she is not Director. Someone somewhere has to know the answer to this very simple, straightforward question, but no one with authority will comment.

The Bottom Line on Trump’s PTO: Michelle Lee Must Go

One thing you learn early on in the Conservative Movement is the maxim, Personnel Is Policy. For a new administration pledged to turn the ship of state to effect the goal of America’s economic and industrial restoration, the same turn must be made regarding intellectual property. And it’s hard to imagine that the Obama picks to lead the Patent and Trademark Office or the Copyright Office could be part of the solution in IP policy, if America is to be made great again.

Commerce Department website contradicts itself on status of Michelle Lee as USPTO Director

Although the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) continues to decline comment on the status of Michelle Lee, as of 3:49pm EST on Monday, January 23, 2017, the Commerce Department staff webpage lists Lee as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. However, the Commerce Department leadership webpage continues to list the position of USPTO Director as “Vacant.” If you click through to Michelle Lee’s staff page on the Commerce website you see that her page was last updated on March 24, 2015.

USPTO continues to decline comment on status of Michelle Lee

The first full work week for the Trump Administration begins in earnest today, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) continues to decline comment on whether or not Michelle Lee is still Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO.

Is Michelle Lee Still PTO Director?

How much longer can there be no official announcement regarding the status of Michelle Lee? The continued silence raises very serious questions, particularly given that there have been public announcements made regarding others who have been specifically held over to serve in the Trump Administration. Undoubtedly, at some point continued silence about Lee’s status will mature into questions about her authority and whether any actions she takes are legal or perhaps simply void ab initio… If no answer is forthcoming in very short order someone will need to speak up, at least internally, because from the outside the facts give reason to suspect the possibility that a former USPTO Director may be refusing to relinquish power and the rest of the agency is just going along with it.

Commerce Lists USPTO Director as Vacant, USPTO declines to comment on Michelle Lee

If Lee did not resign and she has been asked to stay on as Director why has the Patent Office declined to comment? Further complicating matters, if you visit the Department of Commerce leadership webpage, the position of Under Secretary for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office is listed as “Vacant.”

Michelle Lee to Stay on as USPTO Director

This morning fresh, credible rumors are surfacing that suggest later today an announcement will be made that Michelle Lee has been asked to stay on as Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. News that President Trump would want Director Lee to continue to run the Patent Office is catching much of the patent community flat footed. Much speculation in recent weeks surrounded Phil Johnson and Randall Rader, but the dream of a Johnson or Rader Administration at the USPTO seems all but gone now.

Is Michelle Lee Refusing to Leave the USPTO?

I learned from a credible source that Lee was either refusing to resign or perhaps attempting to revoke her letter of resignation. Shortly thereafter I was told that senior Obama officials were upset with what was happening at the Patent Office and that Lee had “gone rogue.” I reached out to the Patent Office for comment, suggesting I was happy to accept even a denial of this rather bizarre and difficult to believe story. The Patent Office has not made anyone available to confirm, deny, rebut or refute this version of events.

America Needs Startup Experience in the USPTO Director

We just don’t need another lawyer or lobbyist to run the USPTO. We need more this time. We need someone from the grassroots who understands the very real hurdles facing America’s most innovative segment. Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) comes to mind. He has built a company based on his patents and is a strong advocate for strong patents for startups. Hans Høeg, Congressman Massie’s Chief of Staff, also comes to mind. He is an inventor with a couple dozen patents and a startup built on patents. He also has four years navigating Congress and the government in his role working for Massie. He understands how patents work at the grassroots level, he understands the processes of the USPTO, he is experienced in patent law and licensing, and he understands how to navigate politically.

Who will President Trump Nominate as the next Director of the Patent and Trademark Office?

Among the names under consideration is Randall Rader, the former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals. But according to patent expert and noted commentator Hal Wegner, who generally does have well placed sources for this kind of information, the short list currently includes Phil Johnson (Johnson & Johson), Michael McKeon (Fish & Richardson), and Steve Pinkos (American Continental Group)… Another scenario being floated is that current USPTO Director Michelle Lee will be asked to stay on, a rumor flamed by remarks by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) made at a CES panel last weekend… There has also been some speculation that Kevin Rhodes, who is Chief IP counsel at 3M, is or was under consideration at one point.