Speed Reads

stepping down

Head of U.S. patent office resigns

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director Michelle Lee, the first woman to ever hold the position, resigned on Tuesday.

Lee was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2014, and after the 2016 presidential election, she announced she was "open" to staying on. It was unclear for several months if Lee, the former head of Google's patent practice, was still director; the Patent Office finally confirmed in March that Lee remained in the post. There was no reason given for Lee's resignation, nor an announcement on who might serve as acting director.

"We thank Michelle Lee for her service to her country and to the Department of Commerce," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Politico in a statement. "As the first woman in our country's history to serve as director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Michelle has worked tirelessly to serve our stakeholders and the American public. We wish her well in her next endeavor." In April, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and other tech companies sent President Trump a letter urging him to keep Lee as director.