United States Patent & Trademark Office may officially be toast.
The outgunned and out-numbered office responsible for referring the ever growing technology-wars has even closer ties to private industry than before. Google in fact.
The more progressive patent attitudes that dominate Silicon Valley are getting a welcoming new home as former Google corporate attorney Michelle Lee takes over as the new deputy director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Reuters reports.
DOUBLE DUTY | ULTIMATE CONTROL | Lee will also serve as acting director until a new director is appointed, filling in for former IBM executive David Kappos, who stepped down from the USPTO in February.Lee has been director of a USPTO satellite office since November 2012, according to Ars Technica. She left Google in June 2012.
THe USPTO is currently slogging through the backlog of over 590,070 unexamined patents, and improving overall patent quality, according to Reuters. Granted, Lee will have access to any and all patents and trademarks, even those that do not pass the multi-year cluster that is the entire process.
Google has been one of the industry’s most vocal companies in calling for patent reform, aiming to eliminate so-called patent trolls, outfits set on making money from patent litigation. But it’s worth remembering that tech companies tend to grow more litigious with age.
For example, Microsoft had filed only four patent suits in its entire history before 2010, but that year, the company sued Salesforce.com for patent infringement and began filing complaints against Android handset manufacturers such as Motorola. Microsoft has joined a consortium along with Apple and Blackberry that has filed another suit against Google.
Regardless, Lee says Google won’t affect her decisions. “None of the policy positions of my former employers has guided my work,” she told Reuters. “I certainly would be very welcoming of everybody’s input.”
Since Lee is someone who has faced patent trolls & become a trademark troll in the process… she may not know how to operate at the helm of the USPTO, without being evil.