Former Google patent chief walks through USPTO revolving door

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Here’s something America needs more of: Former high-ranking industry executives taking on crucial positions at key government regulatory agencies. Reuters reports that Michelle Lee, who previously served as Google’s head of patent strategy, has been named deputy director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and is set to run the agency until it finds a new full-time director.

This is particularly interesting because Google and its Android manufacturing partners find themselves embroiled in a number of patent suits from rivals such as Apple and Microsoft. While there’s no evidence to suggest that Lee will be pulling strings at the USPTO on behalf of her former employer, her appointment is still sure to raise eyebrows, especially because Reuters says she plans “to attack the backlog of unexamined patents and work to improve patent quality, an issue at the center of the ongoing debate over frivolous infringement lawsuits.”

Lee, for her part, says that “none of the policy positions of my former employers has guided my work” and that she “certainly would be very welcoming of everybody’s input.”

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