CAPAC Members Applaud Nomination of Michelle K. Lee to Head United States Patent and Trademark Office

Oct 16, 2014

Washington, DC – Today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Michelle K. Lee as the Under Secretary for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) at the U.S. Department of Commerce. If confirmed, Lee would be the first woman and person of color to lead the USPTO. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“Congratulations to Michelle Lee on her historic nomination as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of USPTO. It is a well deserved achievement for a brilliant mind who has worked extensively on the important questions of technology and intellectual property that are essential to our economic future. CAPAC endorsed Michelle as a candidate for this position because we recognized that with over two decades of experience in property and patent law, she would make an outstanding leader in promoting and protecting our nation’s intellectual property. I applaud President Obama for recognizing Michelle’s qualifications and for his commitment to advancing women of color in leadership roles. I urge my Senate colleagues to move quickly on her confirmation.”

Senator Mazie K. Hirono:

“I applaud the President’s decision to nominate Deputy Director Michelle Lee to be Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Deputy Director Lee’s experience and professional career demonstrate that she has a deep understanding of patent law. I look forward to meeting with Deputy Director Lee to discuss her vision for the Patent and Trademark Office, which plays a critical role in promoting innovation in our nation’s economy.”

Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo (GU), CAPAC Vice Chair:

“I congratulate Michelle Lee on her nomination to be the next Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Michelle has extensive experience in dealing with law and intellectual property issues. As the Deputy Director of the USPTO, she encouraged progress and technological advancement while promoting both business and consumer interests for the United States. I am confident that she will lead the USPTO ably, and I urge the Senate to act swiftly on her nomination.”

Congressman Mike Honda (CA-17), CAPAC Chair Emeritus:

“President Obama could not have made a better choice than Michelle Lee to serve as Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Michelle will bring fresh perspectives from Silicon Valley and the AAPI community to the USPTO. She is eminently qualified for the position, and her leadership will be beneficial to the Department of Commerce, the USPTO and the nation. I am also pleased about the history that the President has made with this nomination – with Michelle, as the first woman and first Asian American, to serve as USPTO Director. I look forward to working with her in this new capacity to bolster American innovation and grow the Silicon Valley office, and I will do everything in my power to help support her confirmation. Congratulations Michelle!”


Michelle K. Lee is the Deputy Under Secretary and Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) at the Department of Commerce, a position she has held since January 2014. Previously, she served at USPTO as the Director of the Silicon Valley Office from 2012 to 2013. In 2011, Ms. Lee was appointed by the Secretary of Commerce to serve as a Member on the Patent Public Advisory Committee for USPTO. From 2003 to 2012, Ms. Lee was the Deputy General Counsel and Head of Patents and Patent Strategy at Google Inc. She was a Partner and an Associate at Fenwick & West LLP from 1996 to 2003 and an Associate at Keker & Van Nest LLP from 1994 to 1996. Ms. Lee was a Judicial Clerk to Judge Paul R. Michel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and to Judge Vaughn R. Walker in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. She received a B.S. and an M.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.


The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.